Christmas is so beautiful, so special. I suppose that is why it is one of the strongest memories for most people and can be a very painful time for those suffering in some way, especially with grief. This year I know several people who have lost a loved one this past year and my heart and prayers go out to them.
I have spent every Christmas Eve my entire life at my parent's house. My husband calls it a Norman Rockwell Christmas. We sing carols around the piano and read the bible story. Presents are packed under the tree with a very impressive train that goes around it. Many of the ornaments on the tree are intricate wooden ornaments made by my dad. We all have them hanging on our own family trees too. My loving and generous parents make it a very memorable time for me, my siblings and their families and my children. Every year, my dad takes a family picture of everyone together. He has always been a photography buff. He also is famous for his incredible fudge that he gives away to everyone and anyone my parents know. The last few years have been different, though. My husband now takes the family photos because of my dad's degenerative eye disease which has left him legally blind. This year, my brother and his daughter made the fudge and my dad said he doesn't remember making it. He doesn't remember a lot of things. He has actually been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Our Christmas is now different. I miss my dad's input. He loved it so. He still sings the 12 days of Christmas with all the men in the family as they have every year since I was married 27 years ago. He actually remembers the words pretty well. We all work together to keep alive the traditions we enjoy and it is working okay. We all are learning to be a little less selfish and a lot more grateful. In certain ways my mom is alone now and that makes my heart hurt. But the sadness I feel at Christmas is mixed with a thankfulness and joy of all the wonderful Christmases I am so very blessed to have enjoyed.
Relationships are the real gifts and the memories we make with others are the ribbons they are wrapped in.