If you look closely you can see the steam on his glasses. I pour the taste of morning. He pours gratitude. “Thank you. Thank you Baby. Thank you Tootsie.” Behind his head hanging on the refrigerator are some of the only holiday decorations I have been able to bear this year – the ones he created with his own hands at his day program. Momma used to cover the house with Santas and snowmen but now they sit in bins on the dining room floor. The spirit of Christmas or maybe it’s her spirit of Christmas closed off from me. I lift the lids to peek in but a grief-stricken vertigo topples me back. Sincerely, it’s as if a wind howls through those cracks, enters my eyes and ears, floods me with memories. I can’t keep up with the sounds and visions. Bing Crosby’s voice crooning White Christmas. My mother all merry pressing the buttons on the Hallmark snowmen over and over making them sing and dance. “Have a holly jolly Christmas, it’s the best time of the year.” The carolers. Our proud tree filled with a lifetime of ornaments – so many of them crafted by Momma herself. Candles in the windows. Stacks of cookie tins. Chocolate chip. Snickerdoodle. Snowball. Even into my twenties my siblings and I made our annual trip to the mall for a picture with Santa because it made her happy. She and Dad used to stand at the bottom of the steps with a video camera waiting to capture our amazement Christmas morning. Momma loved Christmastime beyond what I am able to fathom. All of that love builds in my chest now and I ache for her. I play music from the Christmas station. I sing to her. I kiss her cheeks in time to the rhythm. Pa rum pa pum pum. I lift her hands and dance them. I whisper: “I believe.” I try to believe. I wear my trying like a string of gaudy lights. But I cannot bring back my mother. Who is here and yet gone from me. I crawl into the chair against her. She laughs while I cry. Our heaving bodies make the same movement. Joy and sorrow twinkling together. Separate strands on a Christmas tree quivering in the wind.