Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Remember - Christmas Edition

I remember nearly all of my Christmases; having a video camera in the family since the time I was six and having a father who was very good at chronicling my childhood helps with that. Even
when his camera began to gather dust my memory of the past where Christmas is concerned is rather decent. It’s not that I can remember the myriad gifts I was bestowed or the lavish meals that were prepared and devoured, but mostly how I felt. I felt loved, at peace, surrounded by family and jovialness. I remember other emotions, too, many that still tear at my heart if I let them occupy my thoughts too long, but, I feel that makes me the person I am so I embrace them, too.

I remember spending Christmas with my mother’s mother, “GaGa”. Her visits were always heralded, felt like a vacation within itself, and filled me with joy. I remember her helping us set up the Christmas tree and hanging the ornaments and then, after the others had drifted away to more pressing business, how she methodically rehung most of the ornaments as they had been clustered in one space. I remember wrapping presents with her, the sound of her voice, the tinkle of her laughter, the elegance of her aged hands, and the way she prepped herself for her “beauty sleep”, a process that took three quarters of an hour! I remember the way she always looked lovely, thought the best of things and people, and carried Velemints and a dainty handkerchief in her purse. I remember she used to call me “darling” and smiled wistfully at me. I remember how my mother and she used to cry at the airport when it was time to say goodbye. I remember and it fills me with great sadness to not have her here lo these last twenty Christmases, but much happiness to still have her in my memories to comfort and cheer me. I’m also grateful my father captured her on the video tapes so I can visit her anytime I like. And now I hear my own children say "GaGa" to my mother and I know one day they will remember.

I remember aching to see my husband on Christmas when he was simply my boyfriend. We didn’t
always get the chance to spend the actual holiday together because of family obligations. Once we lived together that first year we still separated to spend Christmas with our respective families. That was the last time we did that because we agreed it was miserable not being together. From that year on we have spent every Christmas together. We are each other’s most important family. I also remember unhappy parts of Christmas throughout the years because of a disease, but those memories grow more distant every year since 1997.

I remember wanting desperately to host Christmas in my own home. When the time finally came it was exhilarating to incorporate the traditions of both our families’ of origin along with

traditions we created together. We’ve been hosting Christmas for well over a decade and each year I enjoy it more and more.

I remember getting everything I desired materialistically on my Christmas wish list; my husband was and is so very generous. But I remember much more distinctly not wanting anything as much as I wanted a child. My life had become dull and flat; I had so much love to give, love that only a child could fulfill. I remember finding out I was expecting days before Christmas; we didn’t tell anyone about our child who was due in August, but we knew and that was the greatest gift that year.

I remember three Christmases later wanting another child, and, by the following Christmas, being blessed with a 3 month old in my arms. But I also remember the Christmas a two years after that when my pregnancy failed and I had to grieve quickly and remember to feel blessed for the two children I did have. I remember the conflict within me but rallied because it was the right thing to do. I remember the very next Christmas I was blessed to have a two month old baby girl in my arms. I remembered to thank God again for my embarrassment of riches.

I remember having only one piece of Spode Christmas Tree patterned china, a fluted serving bowl. I was a very young woman and could only imagine having my own dining room, lavish Christmas meals, and the service that matched the bowl to entertain. I now have several pieces - dessert

plates, mugs, serving pieces, and some dinner plates (though still not a whole set) and I smile to myself every time I use them.

When I think of Christmas past I try to remember the good, the family, the love, and the happiness that accompanied each year I’ve been on this good Earth. When I conduct myself in Christmas present I try to remember the important things in life. I remember to remain calm, keep a smile on my face, not to sweat the small stuff, and to create positive Christmas memories for my loved ones so they, too, remember Christmas fondly. I want the Christmases of the future to take remnants of all of my Christmases to make the season merry and bright for my three little angels wherever their lives take them. I want them to remember, too.

1 comment:

  1. We also remember Christmases past filled with the same feelings you experience. Our traditions go back further than yours, well we are older than you! We always had a child in our house during
    Christmas, and my birthday came around. I remember my grandparents always present when I was a little boy. I remember the guy wire holding the tree up straight and worrying if the dog, Duchess, would knock the tree over running to see who was coming into the front door.
    But most of all we are looking forward to the next Christmas with all the anticipation of the first one we remember.
    Love ya.
    Mom and Dad