There were unicorns ornaments for the Christmas tree, unicorn cross stitch patterns, unicorn cups. Mom decorated our kitchen with bright red tapestry wallpaper adorned in white unicorns. The kitchen counter tops were 50's mint green tile, along with the appliances, and the cabinets were crisp white. It was the most funky, cheerful red and green kitchen I've ever seen, even to this day.
I remember sitting at the kitchen table (it had lions head feet) and making my Christmas list while mom baked cookies and the unicorns watched over our progress.
And even though that house and the wallpaper are long gone, these cups still remind us of it.
I remember inviting friends over to my house to play. They would stop in the kitchen and stare.
"Your mom has weird wall paper."
And at the time, I agreed. Everyone else had mothers with sensible beige or country blue kitchens. At the time, I longed to blend in.
"Why do we have weird wall paper?" I asked one day.
"Because I like this weird wall paper," Mom replied genially.
"Louisa's mom has tiny blue ducks on her wall paper," I pushed.
"Well, I don't like ducks. I like unicorns."
There was great wisdom in that statement, although I couldn't appreciate it then. But now, I'm grateful. I'm grateful that I had a mother who set up easels and painted in our living room. I'm grateful I had a mother who let us eat cake for breakfast. And I'm grateful I had a mother who wall-papered her cheerful kitchen with unicorns.
I'm grateful because with her actions, she gave me permission to do the same. Permission to decorate my home with unicorns or peacocks or lions if it strikes my fancy. She gave me permission to carve out a room just for writing. She gave me permission to make decisions without wondering what other people think.
We underestimate what our parents give us unspoken 'permission' to do. I appreciate this more and more the older I get, especially at this time of year, especially when I think about those Christmas unicorns.