Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Past...

This year at Christmas, I am spending Christmas Day alone.  The kids are at their dad's, my husband is working a twelve hour shift, 7 a.m. till 7 p.m.  I am left here doing clean up and watching "A Christmas Story" over and over again.  Sounds more depressing than it is I guess.  We had our Christmas on the 23rd and spent yesterday just enjoying the loot and relaxing.  The kids need a do-nothing day with all of the traveling they have to do this time of year.  Mom's, dad's, grandparents', stepfamilies'...its a lot, that's for sure!  I am thankful that everywhere they go they are loved, blood relation or not.  But I must admit, I long for a traditional Christmas like I enjoyed when I was a kid.  Being alone today is certainly making me a bit nostalgic.

When I was growing up, we went to visit our grandparents the weekend before Christmas.  They lived about an hour away and did not carry on like we do today.  Granny Adams had ten children and my mother was the baby.  So Granny was older and didn't cook a big meal, but she always had biscuits and gravy left over when we visited.  I have never been able to find biscuits and gravy that tasted like hers...mmmmmmm.  She cooked with lard and on a wood burning stove, so I'm sure I will never find that again.  She also had a gazillion grandkids and great grandkids, not to mention a bunch of children of her own; so she did not buy presents.  We didn't care.  I just loved being there with her.  She always greeted us at the door with a hug and a big kiss.  Her knees did not bend well so she had trouble walking.  Her skin was a beautiful shade of brown from years of working out in the garden.  Her hair was always up in a bun.  It looked salt and pepper gray but when she took it down to comb it, it was long and black with one gray stripe down the side.  Beautiful.  She wore a house dress with a full apron, every time we saw her.  I still hold her in the same esteem I might hold Mother Teresa.  I miss her so.

My Mamaw Bush always had a present for us.  She had a total of four grandchildren so it was easier for her.  I always loved her gifts but most of all, I loved her laugh.  She had a great laugh.  She was no Mother Teresa either, full of spunk and sass.  As much as I would like to say I take after my Granny with her easy going ways, I am definitely my Mamaw Bush's granddaughter!  Bridling that tongue would be like taming the wildest of broncos...not going to happen.  I loved to hear her stories, because they always produced that wonderful, wonderful laugh.  Missing her today.

My mother always decked the house out for Christmas.  Today, her trees seem so regal.  Filled with beautiful ornaments and memories that she has collected  over a lifetime.  As a child, we would drape the doorways with plastic holly garland.  The tree held felt angels, deer, and Santas with silver garland and was lit up by large colored bulbs that were hot to the touch.  During the season, we would go to my grandmother's and get pine that Mom would weave into a wreath and garland for the porch.  It was magic!  I always thought that Santa's house looked much like ours.  On Christmas Eve, we were allowed to open two gifts.  The first was our Christmas pajamas and secondly was my brother and I's gift to each other.  We hung our stockings before going to bed.  I had the same stocking my entire childhood.  It was red felt with a white cuff and had a Santa holding gifts with a sign that read, "Merry Christmas."  Mom sewed my name on the cuff and I thought it looked AWESOME!  I loved that stocking and still love it today.  It is boxed up somewhere at my mother's house but it still survives...somewhere. 

Christmas morning was full of excitement!  We got out of bed at the break of dawn and woke my tired parents.  We ripped open our gifts and were elated with our bounty.  We rarely received toys throughout the year which made Christmas so much more special.  We never cried over not liking our gifts, it was unheard of.  After gifts, Mom made a huge Christmas breakfast with eggs and ham from Christmas dinner the day before.  It was delicious!  At some point during the day, I would find time to be in the living room alone, look up at the star (or angel, depending on the year) and say aloud, "Happy Birthday Baby Jesus."  I don't know if my parents ever saw me do that and I never told anyone that until now.  Christmas was so simple back then, so traditional.

Today I still love Christmas, but it is so much more complicated.  Maybe it is partly due to looking at it through the eyes of an adult instead of a child.  My kids live in two homes and have not had a traditional Christmas for about seven years now.  They have their scheduled visits with both parents and several family functions to attend.  And the gifts...oh my the gifts!!  They get so much!  They are great kids though and seem to appreciate what they receive from everyone.  They love all of their family and are loved and accepted everywhere they go.  I hope that they are able to feel the magic of Christmas as I did as a child.  I hope there is still that spark of wonder...

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