Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! I'm writing this post at 12:10am, so it actually is Christmas. We're spending the holiday in Iowa with M.'s parents, but this is also where I grew up. It's always bittersweet when I come "home," as my family moved away when I was sixteen, shortly after my father died.

I love showing my boys where M. and I grew up, going to our favorite restaurants, and seeing how much Bettendorf, Iowa has changed over the years. It's also hard to be here without missing my dad, and missing the traditions that my family shared here when I was growing up.

We belonged to a church here in town, where we attended for most of my young life. It always felt like home. My in-laws attend another church in the area of the same denomination. It doesn't feel right to me to attend there when I'm home, but I often wonder if my childhood church would feel odd to me. I have many memories of my dad, obviously, but one that is the strongest was attending Christmas Eve service with him, the last year he was alive. My sister was recovering from knee surgery, my mother was playing nurse, and my brother, being home from boarding school, was out with his buddies. So, it was just me and my dad who attended the candlelight service. This service had several Christmas carols, and my father, who was tone deaf, sang them in his off key glory. I remember him looking at me, giggling, and continuing to sing away. It's a random memory, but one that is dear to me.

My children will wake up in the morning, wondering if Santa remembered them, even though they are away from our Cleveland home. They aren't quite comfortable being away from home, and not in a hotel, so they refused to go to bed unless they slept with me. Thus, I am in my husband's childhood bed with my 5 year old, and my 7 year old who both have colds, and who are snoring away next to me. I can hear my husband, M. in the office next door snoring away on the day bed as well.

I wonder what memories my boys will have of Christmases when they are in their 40s. Will this be one of them? Will they remember going sledding in the below zero temperatures of the winter of 2013? Will they remember seeing Santa at an unusual mall where I hung out as a pre-teen?

My hope, as a mother, is that they remember them fondly, and that they are picking up memories along the way to adulthood.

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