What are you doing today? It’s my day to enjoy a retrospective of many Christmases with the kids. The earliest memory was the time when I was pregnant and Leo surprised me with every type of maternity clothing anyone could want. I protested that he had spent so much money on me, but my mother wisely told me to hush. She got that he was so thrilled we were having a baby that all restraint was lost. There was the time Leo and I were up late putting together all the toys Santa would bring in a few hours or even better, the Christmas morning we sat with glue and extra batteries ready to repair all the toys that broke or stopped playing within a few hours of play.
There was the Christmas day we spent draping Cliff in tepid towels trying to break his 104 degree fever only to take him to the emergency room at 11:00 pm after a fight with the pediatrician who was positive that we weren’t doing what he told us. We had been for about twelve hours and I was in no mood for his all too patient instructions on how to correctly handle this obviously easy task. It turned out that Cliff had a blood infection and the doctor was totally apologetic. Cliff got the best of care that visit.
There was also the year that due to whatever happened we were unable to get any shopping done and it was nearly Christmas. We hired a babysitter for the boys on Christmas Eve and went to the local Woolco in Woodbridge, VA where they were having a clearance on everything. We had no list since there was little hope that the boys would get anything they asked for and they were so little they wanted everything. We shopped and had a great time just being two young marrieds out for the day. My husband and I got time with each other, the uncrowded store still had lots of good stuff, and the kids had a great Christmas.
When the boys were on their own and Alicia had just started driving, we had a totally practical Christmas. The boys got huge boxes of Tide, socks, underwear, towels, and all the little things they would need for the coming year. Alicia got a safety kit for her car with flares, flags and all sorts of necessities among other things. At first, their dismay showed, but then they got into the spirit of the thing and started realizing the enormity of their gifts. I still remember Nick mourning a misplaced washcloth.
The year I had cancer surgery and chemo I was in no shape to shop and Leo who had had radiation and chemo wasn’t in any better shape. The question was how were we going to have Christmas for the family. That year I went through the Eddie Bauer catalogue and figured out what would suit Leo, the kids, and myself making a list that was more than a page long. I called the order in and ever since then Eddie Bauer has loved me. I was their favorite customer that year. Everyone except Alicia loved their gifts; she returned all of her gifts receiving money back and did her own shopping. Still, it was a fun way to handle a tough situation.
There was the time I worked at Belk and the majority of gifts came from there since I could use my employee discount. I remember walking around with huge bags dragging my arms down. In fact, I still have a sweater from that Christmas which I always wear around Christmas since it’s green with a little red and white mixed in. There was the year that Leo traveled 26 weeks out of the year and never once did I complain or whine. It didn’t really register with me how important that was to him until he presented me with a wedding band with five diamonds. I had been looking for about two years and couldn’t find anything I liked. On our anniversary, December 24th, he gave me a dozen red roses and tucked in one rose was the ring. I was dazzled by it and the thought behind it. I still wear that ring; it’s my most precious possession.
So, it really doesn’t matter the situation, money, or gift that makes Christmas. It is the time given to ensure that the family is together and loved and honored. Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year.