Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Morning Memories

I had a funny thought yesterday morning as I was making the bed.

The memory of being a boy age 10 or so on Christmas morning flashed through my head.

Standing at the top of the stairs in such excitement and anticipation that I could hardly bear the wait. My brother and sisters there with me--OK, maybe my brother wasn't since he would have been only about 21 months old and I think he got to sleep in the warmer area of the house.

We had attended the candlelight service at church the night before and then dutifully left cookies, milk and an obligatory carrot for the reindeer on a plate beside the Christmas Tree.

I had barely slept. Visions of sugar plums were definitely dancing--but not in my head. They were in my room keeping me up all night. I was awake with exhaustion and high on the drug of excitement.

It was dark outside--I do not even recall the time, but I'm sure it was no later than 6AM because we had been furtively sending messages to each other for a while while hoping to innocuously wake the parents to allow the day to officially begin.

But the excitement and the anticipation of that time was incredible--knowing that in moments Mom and Dad would open the stairwell door and we would be blinded by the "brighter than the sun" movie light us as we ran, fell or otherwise made our way down the stairs and into the room with the tree and the assembled gifts.

Fast forward a few decades and I remember Christmas mornings with my kids--and seeing that same excitement in them. The joy, the excitement and the inappropriate actions of children who just do not know how to deal with these intense emotions.

Our family has grown from our core five, to now eleven. And the sounds of Christmas and the kids and the dogs fills the house with the sweet cacophony of family.

Christmas has changed for us, even with the increase in our family size. We now sleep in late on Christmas morning. We enjoy breakfast and mimosas. We stare at the gift adorned tree while waiting for everyone to arrive in an attempt to recreate those many Christmases past.

I love spending time with Chris on Christmas morning in the quiet of our house surrounded by Makayla, Louis, and Riordin giving her that special gift that I spent at least 15 minutes on the Internet picking out.

But remembering how it used to be--in that time long, long ago and in a place far, far away; warms my memories and makes my heart long for those Christmases past. I know now that they were tough times, but thanks to loving parents I was totally oblivious to how tough they were and the miracle of Christmas was alive in my heart and unencumbered with the myriad details that now are part of making the celebration a success.

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