Christmas With Nanny

A tiny holiday story about a big personality

“I ain’t doin’ Christmas this year. Don’t expect nutin’ from me.” You said this every year, but every Christmas morning I’d run into your room to find a pile of horrifically wrapped Barbie dolls and baby dolls. You’d stand there in your classic Nanny pose, arms crossed over your wide belly, frowning and lifting your eyebrows. I’d run up and wrap my arms around you, and you’d smile and kiss my forehead. “This is the last Christmas I’m buyin’ anything for you youngins.”

In the weeks leading up to Christmas two years ago, I spent hours sitting in my office, looking out my window and anxiously checking my phone. The doctor repeatedly said you only had days, maybe hours left to live. But you hung on for weeks. When I visited you, I longed to hear your raspy voice complaining about Christmas presents. Instead, through slurred words and breathy tones you asked me to eat a chicken with you.

On Christmas Eve, I shivered and sobbed looking at you in your casket. Delusional with grief I repeated, “That’s not Nanny.” Instead of playful threats, all I heard that Christmas was your daughter crying and casket closing.

Christmas With Nanny

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