Missing My Girl At Christmas

Miranda, Asda, ComedyI knew it would be hard to live so far from my daughter when I moved to the UK and I knew there would be times when it would be more difficult, but must the Universe feel compelled to send me constant reminders at Christmas!

There’s a comedian here in the UK who shares my daughter’s name and this holiday season there seem to be television commercials and signs for her everywhere. It makes me want to shout, ‘Enough!’

My Miranda is never far from my thoughts. I generally have a photograph of her as my screen saver on my laptop and images and reminders of her are scattered throughout the house as well.

I won’t bore you with all of them, but some of my favorites are in the photos below. They’re mostly a few quick snaps from this morning taken in a way to avoid the dust and pre-Christmas mess so be advised they’re not my best work.

This photo was taken by my brother-in-law, Leon when Miranda was not much more than one. It’s the first thing I see when I walk into my studio space.

I had this copy of one of my favorite pictures of me with Miranda put on canvas last summer. It was pre-digital and the best copy I could find so it could not be reproduced any larger and keep the sharpness. I love seeing this when I do my hair and makeup in front of the mirror in the hall of my studio.

I have a more recent of photo of Miranda on my desktop, but I try not to put any taken too recently on the blog to give her a smidge of privacy. She was in a friend’s wedding last month and looked so pretty in her role as maid of honor that I wanted to post it, but not without discussing it first.

She made this when she was in pre-school or kindergarten and it sits in an old piece of furniture I rescued years ago from a barn on my grandmother’s property.

I keep a dresser tucked behind the sliding glass doors in my studio that house my closet or wardrobe as they would call it here. ( More can be seen in this post )

It’s here that I keep a few bowls that Miranda made me when she was a little girl and there are some cards from her and photos as well.

The puppy pic is her precious boy and the picture below is from our mother-daughter camp days.

 These dusty images are next to the bed and the bookmark is one she gave me about five years ago.

This was from a Christmas photo taken in 2009. It was my only other Christmas without her and I used a big bowl she painted when she was young to give us an angel in the dining area here. The ornament was only there for the holiday.

Angel Bowl I went through a big angel phase about twelve years ago and Miranda really made me smile when she made this gift for me.

I like to keep a favorite photo of Miranda in the kitchen and I see it every time I come into the house as we almost always enter through the kitchen door.

She’s twelve in this photo taken in Paris when we went for the Millennium New Year in 2000.

Finally, here’s a shot from when I tried to grow Sweet-Peas in the back garden because it was my nickname for her when she was a baby. I need to add that I’m not known for my gardening skills and my poor plants did not flourish or even sprout.

Miranda’s work keeps her too busy to visit during the month of December and she has little time for much else until January. I think next year I may suggest that I fly to see her in January and so we can celebrate Christmas on January 6th, the original date for early Christians.

Anyone else out there having to get creative about how they see family during holiday celebrations?  

A Word From The Bird


About a year ago, just before I began blogging, I sent a piece I’d written about my daughter to Leon, my brother-in-law. Until very recently, Leon worked as an editor and writer for several large newspapers and while I’d been somewhat reluctant to show him anything I’d written, on some level I think I needed a little feedback as to whether my writing might appeal or be good enough to interest anyone other than myself.  I must admit that I was a bit worried about my punctuation and grammar when I sent my essay off to him. I tend to get what MJ O’Shea, one of my writing instructors at Oswego State University referred to as “comma happy” when I write and I was a bit concerned this might be the only thing he would notice when reading my words.

I cannot tell you how delighted I was by the magic of his words when he wrote back and said, ” Elizabeth, that’s REALLY good. That’s Bird by Bird good. It’s the kind of writing I strive for.”  With words of encouragement like that to boost me, I pressed publish for the first time on June 27, 2008 and never looked back.

In Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life she addresses the fears and frustrations of would be writers and acts as a guide for those of us who are intent on having our say. With her direction and encouragement, she teaches you how to break down the storytelling process into manageable parts by focusing on what is honest and real about the story rather than the results.

Delivering good readable writing that touches the reader in some way is part of my goal in writing what I do. To have someone I respect tell me what Leon did that day about a story I wrote totally from my heart…well that’s almost as good as standing in front of America with my Oscar in hand saying, “I’d like to thank….”

I was extremely delighted a few weeks ago, when I received an email from Diane Hayman, who is Editor-in-Chief of Powder Room Graffiti.  It seems after leaving a comment on a post there by Expat Mum, Toni Summers Hargis, a blogger and author that I read regularly, Diane noticed my comment and popped over to Gifts Of The Journey for a look around. The result of which led to her kind request asking if I might like to be interviewed for Powder Room Graffiti.

My interview can be found here…revealing a few more secrets you may not have known about me. Thanks to Diane and the folks at PRG for their interest and thanks to those of you who keep coming back to Gifts Of The Journey.