As I unpack the Christmas decorations, my memories flow.
I feel my mom all around me because Christmas was my mom’s favorite time of the year. She is the spirit of Christmas to me.
I still see her smiling as she sewed. Doll clothes for presents and our handmade Christmas stockings with our names embroidered at the top.
I’m not sure why it was her favorite because it was also her hardest time of year, with my dad drinking and crazy and hating Christmas.
But, it was and she always made sure…somehow, someway, that there were a few presents and a lot of love surrounding her kids.
I’m thankful that she taught us that it was Jesus’s birthday, not get presents day.
I remember rolling hundreds of Italian Cookies with her, every year.
She packed them in tin cans and gave them away.
Sometimes we had family over for the holiday dinner. I always considered their presence a Christmas miracle because Dad would stop his ranting and raving for just a few hours. He would smile and talk like a sane person and it always amazed me how he could turn it off and on like the kitchen faucet.
I guess he must have known the insane screaming was wrong.
Why else would he have stopped the moment people came in to our house?
Yes, Christmas is a time for remembering and as I move on from my childhood memories, sweet and bitter, I remember my own babies and how I was a child myself when they were young. We grew up together.
I will not think of where I fell short.
I will remember where I succeeded.
I miss them. I miss those babies who grew up before I was ready to let them go.
Pampers and pacifiers, Cabbage Patch dolls and Lego’s. Hot Wheels and Strawberry Shortcake. Little hands rolling Italian Christmas cookies, toddlers growing into teenagers with big hair and big hands hanging KISS posters.
Far too soon, my children were in the driver’s seat, grand-babies and great-grandchildren were born. Years flew past me.
My best chance to be what they needed has been dissolved by time, time I thought was mine, but as I make memories with their children, I pray that they have sweet memories whisper to them on Christmas day.
If you have babies and children, remember that Christmas is a time for making memories and it’s not about presents, it’s about love.
Create the sweetest memories now, not next year.
Next year is not promised.
As the snow is falling outside your windows, and the Christmas lights are blinking on every porch, create the memories you’d like them to remember with a smile.