Guest Blog by Mrs. Mommy Mack
Back before we were adults. Before she stood next to me on my wedding day. Before babies, live-in boyfriends and big girl jobs, there was us. We were our family. We lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the small college town of Marquette. The one holiday that Marquette outshines any other with its blizzards, arctic temps and icy Lake Superior views is Christmas.
Funny thing is, the only person’s birthday Cassandra likes to celebrate more than her own is Jesus’s birthday. I learned this 12 years ago when we met on campus. We were both journalism majors with no clue of the future. We knew we wanted to write. I knew I needed to be her friend. I loved her excitement, her laugh and the way she told a story.
Something you might have realized about Cassandra, she doesn’t give a flying shit what other people think about her. She was absolutely the only college student I knew who brought Christmas decorations to college. Not just lights to string around your dingy dorm. I’m talking ornaments, dishes, candles, the works. Every time after Halloween you entered her rattling Ford Taurus you could hear the faint jingle of Christmas music and her rosy cheeks beamed with excitement over her annual Christmas party. While other college students were at a kegger in someone’s smoke-filled basement, Cassandra was digging through her scrapbooking box for just the right stationary to send invites on.
No, we weren’t on campus for December 25th. In fact, in college you’re out for the holidays for an entire month. That never stopped Cassandra. As soon as December rolled around, she invited all our friends far and wide. She spent every last penny (probably more than her last penny, let’s be honest) on food, gifts and Christmas cheer. We invited our annual crushes and lost our minds in anticipation. We’d hang mistletoe in hopes for a rehearsed smooch. We’d be ready. She: planning every course, dessert and Secret Santa. Me: buying too much alcohol and eating most of the food before guests arrived.
The thing is, we were all very lucky to have her. She was the glue that held our hodge podge of a college family together. She was the mom of our group. Some of the guys even referred to her as Mama Cass. Even though she constantly despised the name and wanted to be revered as a hip, young college student. She was always our caregiver. For Pete’s sake, while I was honing my Chef Boyardee skills, she was crusting chicken breasts and three course meals for all our starving mouths. She was the one that kept us all together. While I forced shots down her throat, she made me homemade cookies from scratch and held my hair back when I inevitably puked up Christmas dinner. We all missed our homes in states all over the Midwest. Cassandra was home. She comforted our hearts.
For four years, we celebrated the holidays together. Her taking care of all of us. Me making her drink too much. It always seemed to end in the same fashion, too. We would all fling off our bras, flop on the couch, dig into the baked goods we were too abashed to eat in front of our crushes and discuss the utter disappointment in our choice of men. We’d eat way too much. More than likely cry a little as we pined for our soulmates. Then, we’d end up snuggled together in her tiny bed, sleeping under her twinkling icicle lights completely content in our friendship and newfound sisterhood.
But, it didn’t matter. At the time, it seemed like were cursed in a hamster wheel of hideous love interests, we were really blessed with each other. If you haven’t had the pleasure of spending a holiday season with Cassandra, I encourage you to bask in the glow of her Christmas cheer. We are now thousands of miles apart and she has an actual soulmate to snuggle her under the blinding glow of her Christmas tree. But, one thing will never change. She will be my sister for the rest of my Christmases.
Every December, I think about our years together during the holidays. I also thank God in the month of his birth for blessing the world with someone as unique as Cassandra. She will always be my favorite Christmas present.
About Mrs. Mommy Mack
Where did she come from? Where did she go? Mrs. Mommy Mack is an impulsive writer for the past decade or so. She started out professionally and couldn’t handle the ghastly amount of money she was paid, so now she does it for free! As a self-proclaimed Expert of Nothing, Mrs. Mommy Mack uses her blog as cathartic word vomit she hopes will make you smile. There’s really no theme. She just so happens to be a mom who’s been on a diet since puberty and curses much too much.