Jan at RevGals invites us to post five Christmas memories:
1. I'm pretty sure that it was the first year of our first blended family, so my stepbrother Kevin and I were ten and our younger brothers were seven and five. We were incapable of sleep, and incredibly excited when we got up around 5:00 (earlier?) and saw the four sleds and four saucers and around the tree. My dad was incredibly unhappy to be awakened, and the four of us kids ended up outside, sledding the hillside on which we lived out in the country, before it was even light out.
2. I went to boarding school in Massachusetts and we had an incredible music program. After our senior year Christmas Vespers, we burst out of the chapel to discover a major snowfall underway. I remember one of my best friends, who is from Arizona, throwing her arms wide and shouting, "I am SO GLAD that I go to boarding school in New England!"
3. I am guessing that the Lovely Daughter was about seven for this one, which means our boys were ten. We had all come home from Christmas Eve services and Josh and I went back out for midnight services. In between I laid the presents under the tree. When Josh and I finally got home, well after 1:00 because we'd been driving around looking at neighborhood luminarias, I realized that we were locked out. Not to worry: The Lovely Daughter, radiant in her little nightgown with her blonde hair fanning out like a halo, swung the front door open. "What are you doing up ?!" I asked. "He came! He came!" was the response.
4. The first Christmas after Josh died, 2008, we decided to dispense with the traditions we had built up over 24 years and to head for Key West. It was one of the best decisions we made during that most awful of times, and the Christmas Eve dinner of seafood kabobs and rice that the four of us shared out on our deck was a time of quiet peace in the midst of terrible turmoil.
5. My best memory, I think: When our own kids were small, Josh inaugurated the tradition of a children's tree. I imagine the two trees placed strategically in the living room for maximum House Beautiful decorative effect. "No, no, " said my five-year-old designer. "The little tree needs to be next to its mom!" And so it was.
Bonus: One of the readings we always shared during those long winter nights when our children were small; we had an entire picture book devoted to it. It was probably the source for Josh's little tree ideas.
by: e.e. cummings (1894-1962)
- ITTLE tree
- little silent Christmas tree
- you are so little
- you are more like a flower
- who found you in the green forest
- and were you very sorry to come away?
- see i will comfort you
- because you smell so sweetly
- i will kiss your cool bark
- and hug you safe and tight
- just as your mother would,
- only don't be afraid
- look the spangles
- that sleep all the year in a dark box
- dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
- the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
- put up your little arms
- and i'll give them all to you to hold
- every finger shall have its ring
- and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy
- then when you're quite dressed
- you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
- and how they'll stare!
- oh but you'll be very proud
- and my little sister and i will take hands
- and looking up at our beautiful tree
- we'll dance and sing
- "Noel Noel"