Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What Remains

We are only 11 days away now.  The excitment in my house is tangible.  I know I've already said how much I'm enjoying this year.  The credit belongs to my children.  Their smiles are infectious.  Over the last month I've been more preoccupied.  Every now and then I get a flash of a memory that was long tucked away for safe keeping. Since having my children I've been trying hard to remember what it was like to be a child.  Though for me, a lot of my childhood memories aren't Sugar Plum Fairy type of memories but if I work a little harder I can unearth a time when I had that innocent wonder-filled joy.

The Christmases I like to recall were the ones when I was very young.  While I still believed in Santa.  When my family was still in one piece and happy, well as happy as I could remember them ever being.  When I thought the most wonderful sight I'd ever seen was the warm light of our Christmas Tree or the lights on my neighbour's houses.  I can still remember the songs that would fill the house.  My mother had a few Christmas 8-Track cassettes and they played in that endless loop.  She would sing away with them and I'd try to follow a long as I could.  I remember colouring feverishly in a Christmas colouring book with a new huge pack of crayons on the living room floor while my mother whirled around in a fit of housework and festive preparation.

There were the Christmas Cookie bake-a-thons.  Then being bundled up in coats, hats and mittens and being driven up the street to where my Great Grandfather lived with is common-law wife.  He hated us (and most people in general) and was as surly as a man could be.  How Anne came to love him, I'll never know.  She was one of the kindest people.  We'd make sure his car wasn't there and then we'd go in for a very short visit and give her a tin of what we had just created.  She'd give us a tiny Christmas treat in return.

I also remember once helping to clear the kitchen after dinners leading up to the special day and hear snowballs hit the kitchen window.  My mother would say that was Santa's elf letting us know that he had been watching us being good and helpful.  That we should make sure that we were good so that Santa would visit.  Now I realize that my father must have snuck out the front door and circled around the house to throw that snowball at the window. My father's work Christmas Parties were fabulous.  They were balls and each employee's child would get these very large presents.  I do recall one year getting the most beautiful baby doll and coming home half asleep and having my parents discover that the cat had dragged down the Christmas Tree and broken her favourite nativity bulb.

I remember my mother's skilled hands preparing the big Turkeys.  She would cook up a storm and it would be marvelous.  The Christmas dinners were events onto themselves.  The relatives that would flow in and out of the house over the three days surrounding Christmas.  Especially, my Uncle Paul who would show up in Santa suit each year and give us a pair of handmade mittens as presents.  I always loved when my Grandma and Grandpa Westlake would arrive.  There is nothing better in the entire world than the hugs my Grandma would insist on.  The whisker rub my Grandpa gave us.  I don't really remember any of the presents they gave me but their just being there was what I treasured most because it is what I remember best.  I do miss them horribly.

It has not been lost on me that my eldest son is at the same age I was when my family imploded.  That at that very tender age nothing had that child-like innocence anymore.  I marvel at how young my son is.  I always remember me being older at that age (I know that's odd).  I wonder what he will remember when he's old like me and has kids of his own.  I have been making a very big point of making each Christmas something special to remember.  Every season packed with so many things and events.  I can't improve upon what I remember but I can guarantee that my boys have it better.  I'm lucky, I get to build much better memories thanks to them.

No comments:

Post a Comment