- Remembering the Christ child, laying in a manger, sent to free us from bondage.
- Being together with family.
- Reconciling differences with family and friends.
- Spending time remembering years past with loved ones.
- Giving and receiving graciously.
- Good food, warm drinks, cozy pajamas.
Whatever it means to you, I’m sure one thing that we all share is that Christmas is a great time to make memories and to reflect on the memories that we’ve stored away from years past.
I was hit, square in the eyes with a memory as I wrapped presents last night. My dad and “bonus mom” dropped some presents for the kids off on their way to their Christmas celebration yesterday. They had not had time to wrap the gifts and asked if I would do the chore. I absolutely LOVE wrapping presents so I was happy to oblige. We said our good byes and I took the presents to our “Wrapping Room” to get to work.
One of the presents for Madilyn is a Cabbage Patch Surprise Newborn. I didn’t immediately make any sort of emotional connection with it as I looked the box over. The doll comes in a squishy head of cabbage with a bonnet covering its locks. You don’t know whether or not it is a boy or girl until you pull the baby out of the cabbage head to reveal a pink or blue diaper, (how ELSE do you think they should prove the baby’s sex? with a sewn on penis or vagina?) and the baby also comes with a “surprise outfit” for it to change into. You don’t want a cold baby!
I put the baby doll back in its bag because Grady woke up hungry and then went about my day.
It happened suddenly last night as I was folding clothes: A sudden, vivid memory of a baby doll that I got for Christmas when I was 9. I remember it was the one thing that I wanted that year and Santa delivered. I had never been a big fan of baby dolls but that year, the Magic Nursery baby doll by Mattel was at the top of my list. There was something so exciting and mysterious to me about taking the hat off and finding out whether or not the baby was a boy or girl. You could also find out if the baby had an innie or an outtie belly button.
I remember tearing the box open and shaking with excitement about finding out what my baby was.
My sister and I ran to the sink to dip the baby’s hospital gown in water to find out what we were having. The gown disintegrated to reveal that mine was a BOY! I kissed the little heart on his cheek and watched it change colors upon contact with my warm lips.
That was our first Christmas in Alaska. We had moved there in October and it was still new and scary. We lived in a small, 2-bedroom apartment downtown with our mom and her pizza-slinging, alcoholic boyfriend. I found my first “grown up hairs” in that apartment, just after Christmas.
I remember seeing the chocolate milk sky for the first time as it snowed. I remember sitting at the window as the soft, fluffy flakes fell from the sky and watching a woman wearing high heels making funny footprints on the slick ground. Her footprints looked like a sentence: Triangle, period.
I remember the terror of a fight between my mom and her boyfriend that resulted in my mom passing out and the police knocking at our door.
I remember walking home from 4th grade with my friend Elisa, stopping at the convenience store for candy, and walking through Cope Park then downtown to get home late/ OH man did I get in some serious trouble that day.
I remember the Penguins in Florida project that Shane and I made out of salt dough in Mr. Kotyk’s class.
I’ll never forget stealing money from my mom’s boyfriend during Public Market so that I could buy myself a crocheted Barbie doll dress.
And one of my favorite memories: The Christmas Shop. The owners became friends of mine and we remained in contact through high school graduation. My friend Tatiana and I frequented there and one day in particular, John gave us a cob of black corn that you placed in a see-through plastic bag to place in the microwave to pop popcorn. We took that popcorn home and put it in the microwave to watch it pop. I literally peed my pants laughing as the black cob danced around the microwave, producing beautiful, fluffy, white popcorn.
It was a terrifying, new, wondrous, delicious, beautiful, nerve wracking year.
As I lay in bed last night, all of these emotions and memories came flooding back, all because of a gift for Madilyn. It was truly a gift for me to remember it all last night, and quite possibly the best gift of the season so far.