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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Memories

As my age grows steadily greater and Christmas draws closer, I start to think back over the images of Christmas past. Usually I stop the mental time travel with snapshot memories of ice skating on Christmas Eve or my children's faces on Christmas Day.

When I think about my kids, I can sing along with the Christmas music I love and concur that this is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

But sometimes my mind goes back to memories from my own childhood. I don't have a lot of happy ones, but one Christmas memory stands out from the rest. As an adult I now understand that my mom and Gram did their best to give what they could out of their own hurting hearts.

Even so, the Christmas of my tenth year will forever remain a sweet one.

When my family came back to the States from Germany, we'd stay with my Gram in Kentucky. My Gram did Christmas up big. Lots of decorations. Lots of lights. Maybe that's where my love of candles started...

On the Big Day, before my brother and sister and I could come into the living room where the tree and our gifts were, my Gram had all the lights off but the tree. She made a huge to-do about us coming in together.

When allowed to enter, we charged into the sparkling room full-speed and then stopped right in front of the tree, eyes wide eyes and smiles huge.

My younger siblings squealed over their beautiful, shiny, new bikes.

But my big gift was sitting in a chair with dark brown fuzzy arms outstretched in a welcoming hug. It was a life-size teddy bear with the kindest eyes and soft fur.

That special bear was a constant friend throughout my tumultuous teen years. She even waited patiently for me to move into my first home. Years of storage didn't dim her kind eyes or muss up her soft fur.

And now she continues to give the same welcoming hugs with her forever kind eyes.

Only now she resides in my oldest daughter's room.

Every once in awhile I stop in and gaze at her fondly. She still smiles and still welcomes even the grown up me with her wide open arms.

And for a second it’s Christmas and I'm ten again, smiling big.

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