Tuesday, December 17, 2013
A Christmas Penguin and a Wise Woman...(warning: non-sexy squishy blog)
I've always remembered my childhood fondly. Though it was hard in some aspects (the death of my father when I was 4) it was amazing in others (I had more people in my life who thought I hung the moon than you could shake a stick at. Whatever the hell *that* means). Some of my best memories are Christmas memories. Not only because I was spoiled rotten, but because it was always a period of time in the year that felt magical and utterly stuffed full of love.
There were hitches, don't worry. We had our Griswold moments. There was the year my dad (my mother remarried when I was 9) stained the new entertainment center on Christmas Eve. She was baking sugar cookies--late (she felt)--and possibly saying a few...bad words...and he had stunk up the house to the point where despite quite cold weather we had almost every window open. There was the Christmas I got new clogs, promptly twisted my ankle on the curb running (duh) across the street to show my friends and ended up being carried home (eek!) by the scariest man in the neighborhood Mr. Frank. I almost wet myself that Christmas. And then there was the Christmas I had my first nip of Christmas wine...yeah, that was interesting. I sort of crawled up the steps to bed. From a nip. What a lightweight.
But what I remember most are the books. Pretty much until I moved out on my own, my mother, wise woman that she was (is) would give me a book. See, Christmas was my favorite time of year. I loved the baking, the wrapping (I was often her Christmas Eve wrapping elf, going down and wrapping all her gifts to dad), the crafts, the music, the tree, the lights...By Christmas Eve I was practically vibrating. So on Christmas Eve she would tone down one love with another. Books.
For many years I got a series of Berkeley Breathed's Bloom County Books. Several years. I looked forward to them. There were sometimes books about Christmas. There were books that made me think. But the Bloom County books remain my favorite. And I still have them. And Opus is still my hero!
I remember when I was in my late teens/early twenties and still at home, I received Misery. I'm not sure if it was Christmas Eve or Christmas but I can tell you this, when the festivities were done for the day and we were home and I sat down to read...we lost power. Try reading Misery by kerosene lantern (yes, I was a Walton, didn't you know?) and not freaking out just a little bit.
I have given my kids books on Christmas Eve due to this tradition. They have developed a love for books that almost rivals mine. But my biggest wish for Christmas, especially this year, is that they develop the wonderful memories, feeling of love and safety, and treasure their memories of the holidays as much as I do. I hope they remember their childhoods with the same amazement and gratitude that I do. Even when we had our issues and I had my teenager insanity period that seems to be mandatory...I knew my family loved me. I knew they were my home. Christmas and all through the year.