Enchanting Christmas Memories
Christmas was many different things to many of us. We all have our own special memories or regrets. I had no regrets and although I am smart enough to know my Christmas's were probably on a very small scale compared to many others, I would not trade them for the world.
They are mine and I cherish them. So much so I would love to share them.
Christmas Memories Begin
I have memories of being much younger than five, walking to my grandmother's house all by myself and little incidents that happened, but at five we moved from there and that is when the Christmas memories begin. My dad had been home from service awhile then and was having such problems finding a good job to support so many children. There were six of us, from twelve years old to the newborn baby. We had cows and pigs and chickens so did not go hungry as did everyone else, but that did not buy clothing or pay the bills.
My dad had no hope at all and little more when my mom decides to write a state representative about our situation. I have no idea how she came up with such an idea but it really was a fine one. That politician somehow found my dad a job in a brand new hospital going up that he worked at for the rest of his life. (He went from nurse's aid to maintenance supervisor in many years.)
It was three hours away so of course, we had to sell our house and move. I was very sad to leave my grandparents and all the sweet animals but I was always ready for adventure. We were not raised to have an objection anyway. It would have never entered our minds to cry or give an opinion against our parent's decisions in life.
Traipsing Through the Snow
We moved on a country road with neighbors sparsely on both sides of the road but still, we had a very large yard and there were woods behind us and in and out between the neighbors. Although I was only five I had to explore and as long as I did not go out of earshot I could explore all I wanted. Earshot meant as soon as Mommy yelled my name I had better yell back or if she said come home I better be there pretty quick!
I didn't need to go far, there was plenty to explore just behind the house. This is where I would discover the dogwood tree in a couple of years but right now I was enjoying the fall leaves and the wonderful smells of all the pines just everywhere. Daddy said to be looking for a good one not too big that we could cut for Christmas! There were so many but I loved the very soft ones that I could pet. The others were sticky and prickly and it took a long time to wash that off! As much as I loved the soft ones I hated to think they would be cut and die. They would be so pretty in the house with popcorn strings all over and Mommy's big Christmas ornaments but I started thinking I could not pick a one I wanted to be gone from the woods.
There were so many favorite spots I could catch the sun coming down through the trees and bringing out the aroma of the pines and I thought it must be something like magic. I treated it like magic anyway, for Mommy said soon the weather would turn cold with snow and I could not be traipsing through the woods! I didn't really know what that was but it sounded really fun and I was sorry I wouldn't get to.
Do you believe in Santa Claus?
Away in a Manger
There was always talk of Santa Claus but I cannot remember ever a time really believing in him. Maybe it had something to do with the fact I once passed by the car while I was out playing and saw my doll and some of my brother's Christmas presents in the back seat and floorboard. I remember it as quite accidental but considering I was not tall enough to just look over into the car I suspect I overheard secrets being whispered or perhaps even being talked over my head which was their first mistake. I was always all ears!
I hated it once it happened because the surprise was spoiled but I never really liked baby dolls anyway although they were accepted by me, enthusiastically. The thing was, I had four younger brothers and two of them were real babies. One I took care of hours every day and slept in his baby bed many nights, especially when it was cold to keep him covered and warm. Although thankfully, I was too young to be doing any diapering, I could announce the need for one. I fed him probably all the bottles he took when he would let me, that is. He was not the little baby and he was pretty hefty to handle sometimes but he was oh so beautiful! I never got tired of playing with him and adoring him. He had lashes so long and black he could have been a baby doll. I never recall him crying but I guess there was no need, he always got what he wanted and had a full-time playmate. So I had two living baby dolls and hard cold plastic just didn't cut it.
The Christmas Spirit
My older brother David was just like Dad at Christmas. They were both Santa Claus at heart. It was a happiness to be around them. They lit up a room with their happiness. They were almost silly at times and Christmas gave them that excuse. Mom had more on her at holidays so she may not be all smiles with all that extra she had to do and Dad coming up with all the new ideas for her that he could. But she was the music and the song all of our lives.
She could be fussing around about something one minute and singing and whistling the next. Her battery never ran down and I cannot believe there was a day in all those years that she did not sing unless she was very sick and really, she had no time to be sick! They were never well to do but they gave us all so much. We never wanted for a thing and they made Christmas special every year we were with them.
It was always a rule we had to have clothing of some sort as one of our presents and I am sure we were all OK with that. Then there was always the one special present like a doll or record player and then there were fillers and always the first thing we got when we woke up was Daddy's fruit, nut and candy bag! It always ran over it was stuffed so full. We never were told to wait until after breakfast, we could eat candy very first thing if we wanted. This was one day a year Dad had to shine as a father and although I am so sorry to say he never picked us up and hugged us or said he loved us (those days did come in his last years) he shined with love at Christmas and we knew he loved us.
We were always happiest at Christmas I think to see this father that hid out, for the most part, the rest of the year. Working nights and long hours could make him a scrooge all through the year...but never at Christmas. Not once.
My mom and dad and older brother have all passed on now and I miss them so much. Especially, my mom, I have to admit, but unlike many others at Christmas that are saddened thinking of their passed loved ones, I am very happy remembering and being so thankful that I ever knew them. My older brother died at only forty-seven so I do hate that for him to not have had more life with his children and family but although my mom and dad did not have a painless death they did have a long life and I am satisfied that I did all that I could for them. Some stood in my way at times but I have no guilt that I did not do my best. Yet don't we all have guilt that we could have done more? They both knew I loved them; I know that and that feels good. I was aware they would one day die when I was just a child and prayed then I would go first, before any of my family really. But then I grew up and learned how unrealistic that wish was.
I love thinking of Christmas past at the different memories that weave in and out of everything I see or do at Christmas time. Different things while I am shopping or just lights everywhere as I travel in the car reminding me of traveling with Mom and Dad as a kid to see grandparents and be dazzled by the miles and miles of Christmas lights that would often lull me and my brothers to sleep. Then sometimes I will spot an older woman that so reminds me of Mom in hairdo or dress or an older man laughing and sounding just like Dad and I am so thankful for these things that bring memories of long ago to present time. What better gift could I give them all than to so fondly remember them?
Do you have many good Christmas memories?
Memories are Made of Stuff Like This!
Once, as an adult, I went Christmas shopping with Mom and Dad, leaving my two small children at home. It was such a wonderful day being with them. Like being their little girl again.
We went to a fish place to eat and I knew Dad loved seafood. I also knew he knew how much I loved oysters and theirs were so good! So that was for me that we went there I knew and somehow that day was so full of the love I had missed not being home with them as my family in so long. (Over ten years.) I was always the one to stay home with my little brothers growing up so Mom and Dad could have time to shop and be out together. I think it was a rare treat for us all never having done this, just the three of us. There seemed to be a high on happiness that day.
As we got out of the car at a shopping mall to start our shopping it started snowing light, dry but dense flurries all around. Looking like something magical that was beyond beautiful. We all three started laughing and what was said I could not tell you but I told myself I never wanted to forget that day and that very moment, ever...and I never have.
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© 2017 Jackie Lynnley