I love Christmastime. I love the decorations, the lights, the colors, the cookies people give you that you HAVE to eat. I love it all.
And I love to think back on Christmas memories, too.
I remember the Christmas that I asked for a "stereo" and Erin enthusiastically agreed that she, too, wanted a "radio." When, on Christmas morning, I stood in front of my huge stereo from Santa and she stood there holding her Pepsi-bottle radio with a bewildered look, we both developed an appreciation for vocabulary . . .
I remember the day Erin and I found a bunch of presents in my parents' shower but didn't say anything because we didn't want to get in trouble for snooping. And then, when those presents were in our living room from Santa on Christmas morning, we confronted our parents about it. How could those presents be from Santa when they were in their shower just a few days before? I remember my parents NEVER skipping a beat and saying that Santa had dropped them off early because he wasn't going to be able to get to ALL the houses on Christmas Eve. So he had asked them to help him by putting the presents out for him. I remember the feeling of relief that flooded through me - OF COURSE . . . that made PERFECT sense. Erin and I had a good laugh that we had EVER thought that maybe Santa wasn't real - how silly we were - and went back to our toys with relieved hearts.
I think back to elementary school Christmas parties and how proud I always was to give my teacher a present. I think about a Barbie mansion I got when I was a kid - that present still sticks out so vividly for me. I think about my mom's perfect cursive spelling out "Catherine" on my stocking on the fireplace. I think about the magic that has been and always WILL be Christmas for me.
And, of course, I think about my dad. So many of my memories are wrapped up with him: Dad videotaping us opening our presents. Dad going on and on about an ugly orange ice-scraper I gave him when I was a kid. How his voice sounded when we he was putting on a show of excitement over our little gifts. The way he let us stick bows from our presents in his hair as we opened each package. How he loved watching his grandkids opening their gifts. And just the way he loved making Christmas the most magical time of year for his girls. If I wrote for a million years, I could never craft a sentence that would sufficiently capture how much I miss my dad.
But, thankfully, he lives on in the great memories that he left behind.
While my dad was here, our record over the years was 476 - we've since done 500. On a nine house cul de sac, that is a sight to see! He loved that tradition because it got all the neighbors out and visiting on Christmas Eve and because he loved trying to break the previous year's record. We did it for my dad's last Christmas - all our neighbors had felt so strongly about coming together to light up the street for him that year. He managed to make it outside to visit for a few minutes but he was too sick and probably too emotional to really enjoy it. Even though there is sadness associated with that memory, it's also one of my favorites because of the love that everyone showed my dad. I will remember it for the rest of my life. We've been blessed with wonderful people in our lives.
We do the luminaries now as sort of a tribute to my daddy. To the light that he represented in the lives around him.
Merry Christmas, my friends!