After writing my last post I was flooded with amazing Christmas memories, reminding me how special this time of year is, and how full of love and family my childhood holidays actually were,
My most cherished memory of Christmas is spending Christmas Eve with my Grandma and Grandpa Barron; I don't remember a Christmas of my youth that this night was not shared with them. I loved gathering at her house (her house was the most magical place in the known universe to me). On one special year my cousins from Pennsylvania came out and I remember sneaking out to the backroom where the glow of the Christmas tree was just enough to illuminate the silhouette of some large enchanting castle... or play house... but in the morning it was an amazing puppet stage. There were also these scooter that I remember spending hours racing around on.
The most vivid memory of spending Christmas Eve with my favored grandparents, was awaiting with anticipation that moment when Grandpa would present Grandma with the annual night gown gift. The gowns were always so beautiful and silky, long and flowing, complete with matching robes. It was as if this gift embodied the love that surrounded and held this family together.
I remember the first year this gift did not appear. My grandpa had passed away in September 1998, a few short months later we were all gathered for our first Christmas without him. As we all unwrapped our gifts, there was the unspoken question buzzing in all of us... will the night gown gift miraculously appear? Had grandpa, knowing his passing was eminent, arranged for one last gown? There was no gown under the tree that year, and nary a one since. A piece of the magic that night held had slipped away.
In the passing of Christmas Eves from that year on, traditions have changed, new traditions have sprouted. I have a family all of my own and we are making our own Eves special. I can only hope that what we make of this night will be magical for my children, that they will find a tradition that embodies the love that surrounds and holds this family together.
Learned: How beautiful a memory of love and loss can be.