Saturday, December 18, 2010

Of Christmas' past

While on a visit to my brother's recently, (see last post), he posed a question to both me and our youngest brother.  He asked if we had any memories about Christmas' from our past.  Considering the fact that we had all grown up in a constantly moving, alcohol bathed, emotionally dysfunctional military family, I thought it was a fair question.  I did ask, though, that we not drag up stuff that was going to be dark and damaging to any of us and start us on a depressing diatribe of how screwed up things were.  I mean, we were all there and don't need to be all "survivor-ish" about it.  So I opened the door to the past and journeyed through the cobwebs of my mind to survey the holiday pictures I may have mentally taken along the way.  At first glance, I couldn't say any stood out to me at all.  I asked my brother's what they remembered and they said the same thing...nothing came to them at all.
And then I remembered.  The first Christmas I remembered with fondness was the year I turned 12 and got a Four Tops album.  I have a picture somewhere to prove it.  I'm in a robe with a short pixie cut and I am holding the album.  I was excited to have it.....I also have a memory about a silver (aluminum) tree with a color wheel that rotated and made it pink, red, green and some other color that escapes me.  Apparently, my brother's hated that tree.  I thought it was different, but not too bad as trees go.  But my most favorite memory is from my adulthood.  So maybe I stepped outside of the question that was asked, but it is a memory about Christmas so I shared.

My mother lived in North Carolina and my husband and four kids lived in Virginia.  We rarely traveled on Christmas, but decided to go down for Christmas that particular year.  Carting presents all the way down.  I didn't bring my kids up believing in Santa Claus, which I regret to this day, but that's another story for another time.  So we drove to North Carolina and got there well after dark.  At this point in my mother's life she was sober and had been for sometime.  With a firm foothold in AA, she had reshaped her life and in turn reshaped me as well.  We got into town and drove directly to her trailor.  Yup, mom lived in a trailor, in a trailor park.  She wasn't always the best house keeper, but this night was one for the books ~ or this blog as it turns out.  We fell out of the car and stumbled towards the door.  I walked into a Christmas wonderland.  Mom had Christmas music playing softly, candles were lit on this Christmas decoration that spun from the heat of the candles, all of the Christmas houses mom had hand painted were lit and displayed beautifully and the air smelled of cinnamon and cookies.  Her trailer was beautiful and clean and, well......home.  I mean, really home.  Her tree was decorated meticulously and she greeted us with a big smile.  I felt like I walked into a scene I had hoped for my whole life.  I do not remember what I bought my children, my husband, my mom or anyone else that year.  But I do remember that she made a memory for me.  One that I cherish even more, now that she is gone.
I have made it a point to make those memory sights, sounds and smells for my children and now grandchildren.  Having the opportunity to relive that wonderful moment made me ask my own daughter about the Christmas' she rememebers.  I asked my clients as well and almost all of them have said, it's not always the gifts (although sometimes special ones stick out), but it's the memories.  It's the time with family and far away relatives who come for the holidays that stick out. 
So for me, this season, I am doing my best to make happy memories. I am going to try and make it joyful and not exhausting.  It doesn't mean it won't be, but I know that I'm in charge of what happens so I will try and create an aroma of love when my family comes to visit.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading what you write friend! This is a great question to ask ourselves. It's too easy to allow a bad memory to cloud out the good ones. Thanks for the reminder and the encourgement that it's never too late to make special memories w/our children, no matter how old they are!
    Love you friend!