Thursday, December 25, 2008
Everywhere children awake with great anticipation. They scream with delight as they rip paper and open gifts. Parents sit in bleary eyed exhaustion, smiling, doing whatever is necessary to wake themselves from a long, pre-Christmas flurry of activity. Mippy just called and said that Monkeyboy woke up at 3:30 AM. Bean came in their room at 4:11 AM because they were bored and wanted to color. Those of us without little ones awake, have a leisurely breakfast, read the paper and enjoy the peace and quiet of the morning. I remember the first year I didn't get toys for Christmas, but rather, clothes. Clothes that my parents had picked for me. And we all know what that means. I don't remember how old I was. In our home, presents weren't wrapped, they were set out on card tables in our dining room, which was very large. The tree was always in the bay window, tied to the ceiling, because it would fall if not tied. I remember one tree that actually did fall over...on my mother as she was sitting there watching us trying to tie it to the ceiling. As we were older, we were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve. The rest had to wait until Christmas morning. My father would go down and light the tree and run the trains, which had been set up in the den. The layout of the trains took up the entire room. More relatives, what few we had, would come in the afternoon, bearing more gifts. As a teenager I would go to Midnight Mass at St. Andrew's. I liked that, because it was always a peaceful way to celebrate the season. One was usually done with the hustle and bustle by then and it was a time to reflect on those things for which we were thankful. I am blessed to have a healthy family and to have wonderful friends with whom I can share the holidays. To everyone, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a healthy New Year.