Many years ago, before marriage and motherhood, I lived in an old building on 71stStreet in Manhattan. It was a walk up. I lived on the third floor. My forever friend lived on the first floor, which is how I got into the building. Our other forever friend moved in on the fourth floor. As the building had only eight apartments, it felt a bit like a continual episode of Friends for the two years we lived together. Having met in kindergarten, by the time we graduated from high school, we had shared many secrets, spent hours laughing and crying, had more inside jokes than I can count. To then get a chance to live in the same building when we were single and in our early 30’s was a blessing.
“Peach” (fourth floor) and I moved into the building in the fall of 2003. That December, we had a Christmas party across the three apartments. We invited all our neighbors and our friends. When my parents arrived, my mom gave me funny Christmas hand towels to share with Peach and “LD”. Lois (my mom) had a great sense of humor, as you can see from the messages here.
This weekend, I got my act together and transitioned the house from Thanksgiving to Christmas (no judgment … I realize I am a bit behind the curve this year). When I found the hand towels, I smiled. So many good memories are triggered each time I look at these. I can see my mom’s face as she handed these towels to me, her wry smile abundantly evident. I remember Peach making her famous hotdogs in ketchup for the party, and having a full pot of the same on the stove at the end of the night. I remember getting LD’s Christmas tree in the door shortly prior to the party, using our “tree gloves.” I remember the snow storm that almost caused us to cancel the party.
Peach moved out in 2005 after she got engaged. LD and I remained in the building for many more years, eventually moving on after we both married. My mom died in 2008. Peach died of breast cancer in 2018.
We cannot stop time. We cannot stop change. What we can do is enjoy the moment, because every moment will become a memory. Many of those moments will become memories you treasure. This is the true gift of Christmas. As time passes, it isn’t the physical gifts you’ll remember. Rather, it will be the laughter you shared, the people who showed up, the way you felt that will remain with you.