Christmas as an adult, when our kids were little, was very exciting. Full of hope, and promise. Full of anticipation, of wonder. Seeing the eyes light up of both my boys when they were very small, meant more to me than any gift I could receive.
My first year, as a “Mom” was more for my Husband and I, than my oldest son. He was just nine months old, and I hardly think he could focus on more than just his Gerber peas and carrots. Yeah, It was mommy and daddy whose gift was abundant from the joy of their first born son. God himself, gave us that gift.Unwrapping all the presents that our young baby would soon learn from, just made our hearts beat happily. Beating to tunes, like that coming from a drummer marching in a parade down main street on the fouth of July!
Our “second” Christmas, well, that was amazing for our little boy (and of course, us)! He had some of the biggest eyes you could ever imagine. He had a bounce in his step (just like Santa), and a sparkle in his eyes as he gazed upon all the lights, garlands, hanging tinsel and other decorations adorning our tree.He raced, to pick up and open packages of stuffed animals, cars and early learning type toys. Mostly Sesame Street. I guess he knew instinctively, that he was to tear off the pretty, colorful paper adorned with ribbons & bows and curly strings that wrapped the gifts. I don’t recall telling him. His favorite present, a stuffed silly looking character, was “Elmo”. Man, he carried that thing everywhere. It’s wobbly limbs all fuzzy and soft. It’s big hard plastic white & black eyes. The bright, fire engine red fur. He loved that thing. For a year it was his favorite friend and toy. Carrying it around, with his cuddly blanket (his first true love). His favorite, that is, until I shared with him MY favorite toy from when I was a baby. My Teddy bear, which he gave the honoring name of “Mow”. To this day, I have no idea how he came up with it, or what it meant. I never did have a name for him (Mow) when I was little. To me I guess, “My Teddy Bear”, was his name.
By the time our third Christmas rolled around, our second son that we were blessed with, was s only a month and a half old. The season pretty much went unnoticed by that little guy. His eyes could barely stay focused on the lights. No matter though, his “Bub” got the cool stuff, while again, the new baby gets the softie toys, blankets and books! Plenty of clothing for the upcoming months, the necessities. The things older folks would call, the boring stuff.
This newly born baby was raised on Disney, and therefor, he got all Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck type toys in his first few years. That is, until he showed an interest in Football. Then he became a New York Giants Fan. (Like his father). To this day, over 20 years later, he Loves the Giants. He always starts out the football season with a strong attitude. All pumped up with excitement for his team. Gathering fun facts about the latest players. Conversations with dad daily, about stats from all the teams in the nfl.
Then, slowly as the weeks pass, his interest starts to fizzle. By the end of the season getting him to sit on the couch for a game is like pulling teeth. That is unless, unless his team is in the playoffs or better yet….the Superbowl. Between the two of them, no muzzle can contain the noise of billowing excitement that comes from their mouths. Nor would I allow it. I enjoy hearing them sharing football time.
Through the years, the growing boys both went through many phases of interests. There were trucks, micro machines, GI Joes and Matchbox. Wrestling figures, Star Wars, sketch pads & paint. Fieval, Indian in the Cupboard, Skateboards & bikes. So many things that came and went. An abundance of bills left our wallets through the course of two childhoods, yet I bet, neither could name one thing they remember playing with for any length of time. Pack rat that I am, I saved a few things over the years that I hope to pass on to each of their (highly anticipated by me) children.
I looked forward to decorating our Christmas tree each year, with newly made crafts that the boys each would make in class at school. Paper plate wreaths, or macaroni noodle chains. Pipe cleaner candy canes and clothespin reindeer. Cute ornies from cute kids. The memory of kids crafting days stays with me. I enjoy the thought of their tiny hands cutting through construction paper, while awkwardly holding the miniature plastic, dull edged scissors. White glue sticks, leaving sticky patches of marks on the crafting tables that picked up lint or teenie tiny paper scraps. Assorted Crayola paint and marker colors that I worried would not wash from their clothing (but did). Thinking about how hard it must’ve been, as a toddler, to keep their handmade gifts a secret, and how smart they were, to remember them on Christmas day to give them to us.
Sadly, With the curse of time, mice & our move across the country; some crafts and ornaments they made were destroyed and can no longer grace our tree. But I always put something on our tree that they made. Something, is a stretch. If anyone knows me well, they know that barely a green limb of tree is showing. I pack that baby with lots of stuff. Rubbermaid bins were a great invention. The old adage “the more the merrier” was intended for people like me, and their Christmas trees, and I have a LOT of bins to prove it 😉
Christmas morning gift giving is a little different now, with grown children. A little sadness enters the room. Gone is all that excitement, the fast ripping of colored paper. They are all grown now and he toys aren’t toys anymore. The gift matter has changed quite a bit. Technology has gotten way far advanced for my liking. But, always being our children, we want to get them things they “want”. Most of it is however, beyond our pocket depth. So, we seem to be resorting to necessities ( you know, those boring gifts they don’t want to waste their own every day money on), and a few small things on their lists (yes, we still ask for ideas of what they want, their wish lists lol). We keep stressing to them, that they need to hurry it up and bring us our Grand kids, and they will see for themselves. That the gift of Christmas, is seen in the eyes of a child.That’s where real pleasure will fill their hearts. Then as Grandparents, we can shower them again, in toys…..for “their” children. Oh, how I can’t wait!
At some point in time, it’s only natural for an adult to dream about far away places to travel. White sandy beaches riding bareback on a gallant Stallion. Flights to Rome, sipping wine and floating down city streets made of river water. Treks across the desert to meander through pyramids where Pharaohs lived out their destiny. Walking through Castles in England where Kings and Queens once ruled, or the rolling green hills of Ireland where my ancestors come from.There was a time my dreams “might” have been bought at a ticket counter in an airport. A time when I may have scheduled or planned a vacation of a lifetime.
Now, and more frequently as I am growing older and more sentimental; my dreams are purely to remember a time that was so simple and right in front of me all along. A time that can no longer be brought back, except in those dreams behind closed eyes. Dreams that no money in the world could buy, nor replace. Thoughts that drift into my mind when the room is silent. Memories of the best years of my life. Time spent with my family, of raising my own children, of growing and aging with them and with my sweet husband & lifelong friend, of all our pet family who shared our lives throughout the years. Times also of my own childhood, with my own brothers and sister and mom and dad. Dreams of all my Christmases. The time out of each year that we all come together, and dedicate our thankfulness of Jesus’ birth, our birth, theirs. And for all the Lord has blessed us with. Our dreams are, our memories. Our memories, our Love. That is what Christmas, and this life is about. Love.
When fall rolls around, I plan, in my mind, on starting the holidays a bit early. The cookies, the meal planning, the decorations, the lights, tree, wreaths, cards, gifts, the get togethers. Right up until the last minute, my mind is a whirlwind. Nothing gets done until, just days before. When it’s all said and done, I wish I had stopped planning and just did things. After I put the Christmas tree up, I never want to take it down. I want the warmth of Christmas to last forever. The memories to stay alive in my mind. The family to be together, the happiness to last.
I keep my tree up for a few weeks. Well into January. Each and every night, I stare into the twinkling lights and glistening tinsel. I think about each ornament on every branch. The beautiful scent grows with each passing day. I see the star atop the tree and think back to the day, when the first star shined. When the warmth all started. It wasn’t in my lifetime, but rather when Jesus was born. If everyone in the world could hold onto that thought, that feeling, that reason for our season. It would be Christmas every day of the year.