Wednesday, December 23, 2009

When I think of Christmas...

I woke up this morning feeling much better than yesterday. The house is quiet and its SOOO nice. I have presents to wrap and then I'm going to take some naughty pics for Gentleman Jack to surprise him on Christmas morning.

Hee hee!

I'm in the Christmas spirit, that's for sure!

When I think of Christmas, lots of memories spring to mind.

I thought I'd document some since I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy...

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Monday would have been the 17th anniversary for the ex and I had we stayed married. I remember that year's Christmas. We'd eloped to Lake Tahoe and got married in the snow. I wore an off-the-shoulder emerald green velvet dress with Nike tennis shoes underneath. I never wore the gorgeous matching pumps as they would have certainly ruined in the wet cold snow. We spent a few days there and then flew back to Dallas on the 23rd. We then drove back to Louisiana and spent the holidays with my family. They were excited that we video-taped our wedding ceremony that consisted of me, my husband, the non-denominational minister and a photographer. Mom was sad that she couldn't attend. The pictures were breathtaking.

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I remember one of my first Christmases after I'd moved to Dallas. I think I was 20. I'd decided to drive back to Louisiana despite the impending ice storm that was creeping in fast from the west. What normally would have taken me 1.5 hours to drive to the halfway point took me 3 hours instead. I'd decided to stop for a quick break to rest from the white-knuckle driving when, unfortunately, I hit a patch of black ice, spun around several times and landed in the ditch. I landed next to a minivan that had just done the same thing. The driver of the van rushed to the driver's side window to see if I was ok. I was shaken but otherwise fine. He then informed me that there was an hour wait for a tow truck. There were too many accidents and by that time, everything was covered in a sheet of ice. My father had to drive to pick me up and I finally arrived in my hometown 12 hours after I'd left Dallas.

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One Christmas I went home to spend with my family, I came back to Dallas with the flu. Thanks Dad.

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The first Christmas after my Rose was born, I filmed her sitting in her car seat under the Christmas tree. She was so innocently and endlessly amazed at the pretty lights on the tree. I had Jewel's Christmas cd playing in the background. I think I cried tears of joy through the entire cd.

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When I was a kid, Mema and Papa would invite my sister, brother and I to come down to decorate their tree. We'd listen to Elvis Presley (because oh boy he loomed large in my family) and Bing Crosby. I still think of my grandparent's house when I hear Blue Christmas or White Christmas.

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Now, when I sing Blue Christmas, my kids chime in with the "woohoooo woohoooo woohooooo woohooooo" part in the background. Cracks me up every. single. time.

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My mom always made sure we had more than we asked for every year for Christmas. Sometimes, we couldn't even get near the tree because there were so many gifts! I never knew that my parents were barely scraping by on less than $20K per year combined.

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Every year, my mother makes sure to get a picture of my sister, my brother and me in front of a Christmas tree. One of us needs to do a photo book with the progression of photos from over the years. Its always fun to see the different hair styles. Here's the pic from last year when *giggle* my brother couldn't make it in town.

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We used to drive down to the little podunk town where my mom grew up to visit my other grandparents sometime around Christmas every year. Grandma always had homemade hot tamales and $5 for each of us. God bless her. She had over 25 grandchildren. My sister and I would take the wagon and use it as a sled down the huge hill on my grandparents' 13 acres. The sucky part would be dragging the dang thing back up the hill.

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It was a long standing family tradition to attend the Natchitoches Christmas Festival during the first weekend in December. The tradition started when my dad was a child and continued until... well... it continued until they stopped selling alcohol a few years ago. Heh. I did take my girls back last year and we had a blast. We'll get back there again. The best thing about that festival was Santa in the parade, the meat pies and the fireworks show over the river.

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I loved hearing Cajun Night Before Christmas every year as a child. I really enjoy reading it to my kids now although they don't quite understand when I read it in the cajun dialect.

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Its just not Christmas without watching the Grinch, Rudolph, and Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown is my mom's absolute favorite.

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We'll have meat pies, Mema's meat & tater dressing, and tamales on the table for Christmas - just like every year.

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My mom "accidentally" leaves the price tag on every gift. It's a running joke in the family now.

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My brother and I will probably get into a game of Shit. Shit is a card game that Mema taught us before we could even read. Of course, as kids, we called it "Doo doo". I can literally play this game, cook dinner and watch TV all at the same time and still kick my brother's ass. He knows its true.

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Every Christmas Eve, my sister and I heard the sound of bells outside of our bedroom window. Mom and Dad never admitted that they had anything to do with this but I definitely always believed in Santa because of it.

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I always had one extra gift under the tree every year that was wrapped in birthday wrapping paper. Couldn't open that one for 3 more days. It was torture but hey, at least my parents made an effort to separate my birthday from Christmas.

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Christmas was Dad's favorite time of the year. I miss him more at Christmas than I do any other time of year. He always got so excited to have his family together. Now I have an ornament from my brother that reminds me that Dad is with me this Christmas and every year.

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One year, my dad filmed our Christmas tree spinning around (yes, we had a rotating tree stand) to Christmas carols for an entire hour. Sounded like a good idea at the time...

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The first few Christmases with Grace are a blur, sadly. My marriage was crumbling by the time she was born and my husband was already emotionally checked out. I was so focused on his whereabouts, mentally and physically, that I don't even remember being a mother of a baby and a toddler. I was just going through the motions.

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I am happy to celebrate Christmas with my girls this year - for the first time in a very long time. I know they will wake me up by excitedly jumping on me before I even get out of bed on Christmas morning. Then we'll open gifts with their daddy and head to my sister's house to open more with sis' family, my mom and brother.

How can you beat that?


Merry Christmas ya'll.

6 comments:

  1. A very merry, blessed Christmas to you, T. What wonderful (mostly!!) memories..thank you for sharing. Wishing you many more this Christmas!

    Be well, T.

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  2. Isn't it wonderful to have so many great memories to carry us through? And it seems like you will be making many more.

    May you have a very Merry Christmas, T!

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  3. Oh, I LOVE Elvis!
    Have a really great Christmas T!!!

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  4. Great collection of stories -- and memories. Have a wonderful holiday, T!

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  5. Enjoy every moment - and I hope you enjoyed that snow!

    Merry merry...

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  6. Merry Christmas, mama!!! Hope you have a lovely day today with your girls and family. xox Hope

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