Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Memories

Christmas is about anticipation and realization. For people my age, however, Christmas becomes more and more about memories. For me one image in particular stands out.

Christmas was big with my former wife, who passed away twenty years ago last October. Eloise would trudge all over Rochester in the treacherous snow and ice to find what the children wanted and would always try to have at least one surprise for them. We added at least one new ornament every year to the collection, which therefore grew larger each season making the tree brighter and more colorful.

The rule in our house was that the children could not come downstairs until 7 AM on Christmas morning. So Paul, Nancy, and Melissa would huddle at the top of the stairs clock in hand waiting as the minutes ticked away like hours. At the appointed time on the dot, they would hurry down the stairs and into the living room to look at the pile of gaily-wrapped presents. under the bright and glorious tree in all its splendor . The parents were still sleepy and tired from having been up until 2 or 3 AM getting everything ready. "Some assembly required" will suggest why. My limited mechanical abilities and obscurely-written instructions frequently tested my usual restraint against the use of profanity. But somehow it all got done, and here we were all together at the magic moment when wondrous anticipation turned into joyful realization.

The children are all grown up now and into middle-age with their own families far away from 2961 Elmwood Avenue. They are wonderful human beings and a joy to Gloria and me along with her own adult offspring and our grandchildren.

But deep in a treasured corner of my heart at this season of the year they are all little again standing in the door to the living room in the glow of the bright colorful shining tree reflecting in their beautiful eyes the joy and wonder of Christmas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful letter. It gave me a glimpse into the lives of people I hardly get to see and therefore barely know or remember. As I start my new family traditions, I will have to remember the 7:00 rule. Gavin and Jared, my two boys, are too young right now to understand the true meaning of Christmas but it will be a priority in our home to instill the values that God and all His glory teach us.

Brandi Nelson Miller