Christmas Eve Day!
Quote of the Day: “When I asked for all things, so that I might enjoy life, I was given life, so that I might enjoy all things.” Unknown
So I spent the better part of the morning trying to record “Twas the Night Before Christmas” on an audio book so Maggie and Kate could turn the pages, look at the inviting illustrations and hear my voice. For some reason, unknown to me, the pages didn’t line up with the recordings and so I repeated and repeated the words in an effort to what I thought was the solution and, although I now have the entire poem memorized, I was unsuccessful. In frustration, I put it aside and I’m trying not to look at it. It so reminds me of the season, when we are trying so hard to make everything “perfect” but what really happens is that we add a lot of stress to our lives. I’m not going to lie, I actually like when there is a little bit of a rush to accomplish things. It feels like I’m in the thick of things and useful. I was really prepared this year but woke up this morning, wondering if I have “enough” of a gift for a few people. I don’t like it when my gift feels inadequate: you thought you had a great gift to give and then they give you a much “better” gift. I know that it doesn’t matter so I should just comfort myself that any gift is valuable but I always wished I had thought it through better.
Christmas Eve is one of my favorite nights of the year, made special by my Grandma Vernessa. This was the day she worked for all year. I loved going to her house on Christmas Eve. All my cousins, aunts and uncles would be there. Vernessa and Owen had 5 children, 3 girls and 2 boys, Anna Marie, Barbara, Kay, Janet and Newell. My favorite cousin, Judy, was one of the highlights of my childhood existence. I loved everything about her. She was fun, smart, beautiful and I just wanted to sit by her and do everything that she did. Many of us kids would go into my Grandma’s laundry room, that had a short hallway before you came to the washer and dryer, and we would sit on the ground in this very tight hall and talk and memorize poems and plan some entertainment for the guests. Christmas Eve was a sacred time, we would dress in our finest church clothes, hopefully something red and without a doubt the first thing I did when we arrived at my Grandparent’s home was to run through the hall and all the rooms to get to the living room where there would be the most amazing white flocked tree with red bulbs and underneath a present for each person. I would find my name on a beautifully wrapped gift. In anticipation, I would dream about what was inside knowing that present opening was an event that came after dinner and entertainment. But then finally, the youngest would go first and we would each in turn open our gifts giving thanks to our Grandma, especially, who had worked hard to make Christmas special for us. I now realize that it wasn’t about the gift, it was the joy she created by making this such a special time for us. I knew she had stayed up late hours to see the joy on our faces.
This morning as I was thinking about my Grandma, I couldn’t bring to mind one time when she was angry at me or even when she spoke a cross word to me, not one. I’m sure she had reason to be upset at times and yet, I can’t recall one time that she seemed disappointed in me and maybe that is why I always go back to the way she made me feel. She loved unconditionally and when I think of Maggie and Kate, I understand it. One year, she hand made quilts for all of us. We each went home with a huge package under our arms and a warm reminder for the rest of our lives that we were loved.
This year as I look at my granddaughters’ bright eyes as they open their gifts, I’m sure I will see my Grandmother’s sparkle reflected in them.
Vernessa and daughters: top row: Anne Marie, Vernessa bottom row: Barbara and Janet (my Mom)