This is a story about two mothers. One is a good Christian; one is a sari-clad, bindi-wearing brown-skinned Hindu. At the time of this story, both lived in Ottawa. Both enjoy the holidays in their sparkling, merry, ginger-scented, gift-wrapped gorgeousness. For one, Christ is definitely at the very centre of the celebration. For the other, it's just a beautiful time of year, a time of extra compassion and to celebrate the good in people.
Both these women are incredibly kind, patient, loving and unjudgmental — the kind of mother you hope to be the second you realize there's a kid in your future. When you need comfort, you should call them. They'll let you do your thing, and not poke at you or tell you what you do. In time, you'll find your jangly thoughts magically calming, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what you need to do next. And then you go about your business with a sense of clarity and a container of food.
When someone wishes my mum — you've seen my picture, which one do you think she is? — a Merry Christmas, does she bristle and give them the stink-eye? Does this patently non-Christian woman draw herself up to her full height and tell them off for being presumptuous or imposing their beliefs on her? No, because she doesn't have a stick up her behind and knows goodwill when she sees it. She beams, and says it right back.
And when someone says they hope my kind, FUN, flexible, sweet-natured, religious-but-not-uptight mum-in-law has happy holidays, she doesn't get cranky that they're secularizing a holy time of the year; she takes the good wishes in the spirit they're intended, smiles and reciprocates.
These two women are both gracious and graceful, all year round, and this time of year is especially a time of grace. So grab a cup of cheer, unclench, take the good wishes and run. Because grace.