Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Memories, I

I just started my Christmas shopping today, people. What is today, anyway? The 20th? The 21st? I don't know. I've been on autopilot, finishing out late soldier boxes. I am anxiously becoming aware that I have 3 days to finish shopping, plan a menu, and get into the holiday groove.

This is my first Christmas without my sister. Ever. Her lack of presence is a punch in the stomach to this family, at the same time we are determined to persevere.

Mom and I "lunched" with Tim yesterday. Yes, we lunched with him, a fancy-ass way of saying we got off work at noon and met at the same Mexican place we always meet at for lunch for the past 10 years.

While we were lunching, we reminisced about Christmas-es past:
When the kids were small, Teri & Tim had a Christmas eve tradition of visiting Candlestick Lane, our local "festival of lights."

Tim regaled us with stories of backing out of the driveway each Christmas eve, and Teri, taking one for the team, exclaiming, "Oh no! I forgot my _________"!! Tim would declare, "Dang it, Teri!!" and stop the car and let her race back in.

The kids, excited to see the lights, would join in on the eye-rolling at her forgetfulness, while she raced around placing Santa's gifts in approximately the same amount of time it would take her to find whatever it was she claimed to have forgotten.

She'd return to the car, and they'd be off to dim their lights on Candlestick Lane. Each year, when they returned, there would be a major discussion about getting right to bed—right now, right away!—before Santa arrived, followed by the inevitable, "Oh My God, we missed him! I can't believe he came while we were gone!!!"
Lunching we were, and laughing and laughing, while Tim told me about the kids whining about their forgetful Mom, and his thinking "she's putting out your gifts, you little brats!"

We fell apart in laughter, and then stopped for a second.

He picked up his napkin, still laughing, and said "I just made myself sad." He covered his face with his napkin, and we sat, for a second, silently laughing, silenty crying, and silently regaining our composure.

It was a moment. I'm sure she'd told me about their Christmases, while I was busy recording, mentally, my own memories of Brian, dancing around the house in the hat that Santa lost on OUR porch, continuing on, of course, hatless, to all of the other children's houses.

At any rate, I'd forgotten theirs, and I loved hearing about it.

I'm going to try to place up 5 more Christmas memories in the next 5 days. Get ready for Christmas syrup, I'm going to pour it on, and I invite you to join me.

Put your Christmas memories in the comments, or blog them and I'll link to yours.


  1. I love that story.
    I really feel for you this Christmas and would like for you to grant me one Christmas wish: whenever you feel overwhelmed about your sister and your son, do not turn inward, but reach outward for a warm embrace. Please promise me that you will do that.

  2. Weather permitting, I will spend Christmas in VA with my middle sister. I'm gonna hug her just a little tighter in honor of Teri and you.

    When my oldest niece was a toddler, she would sing about Frosty, who had a "butt and nose." How cute is that?

  3. When Jack was 3 my mom gave him a little electronic hamster that sings "First Toymaker to the King." Jack named him Harry and since then Harry has returned to the North Pole after Christmas each year, then come back to us as Santa's ambassador. Last year on Christmas morning Jack awoke to find Harry seated on the ottoman with a Wii remote in his paws. Sadly, though, last year Harry somehow got broken and he wouldn't sing anymore.

    This year Jack wanted to put out the holiday houses and after Thanksgiving as we were unpacking the houses from one of the Christmas boxes we unpacked Harry! Oh heavens. Quick thinking. "Oh, I forgot I put him in here." I said. "Harry came back early this year. Right after Halloween. I put him in here so I'd be sure not to forget him at Christmas." Jack was all excited, took Harry inside and loaded him up with batteries. Harry's chirpy voice sang out his song and his arms waved mechanically. "Mommy!" Jack exclaimed. "Harry got fixed at the North Pole!"

    It's a Christmas miracle.

  4. Anonymous4:05 PM

    lori, yeah i'm crying.... the last christmas tina was with us was pretty tight financially, and she wanted a tree really bad for her and the kids. so, my daughter amie got them a tree but tina already had an idea of how she wanted it decorated. see, Tina was a pepsi freak!! oh yeah. she had all sorts of pepsi stuff, chairs, blankets, hoodies, etc.,So, she had been saving all her pepsi cans and bottles for awhile. she put lights on them, around them, and through them, and let me tell you lori, it was the prettiest tree we had seen in a long time. im trying to remember if anyone had pictures. i know we took alot of em. but her and the kids were so happy with that tree as we all were. thats one of my favorite memories of christmas. Always remember lori, tim and kids, we're right there with you in heart. love ya all

  5. Christmas Memory 1: Living in upstate NY in an old, beautifully restored Victorian with ceilings that went all the way up to there. We used to have to get out the ladder to get the ornaments around the top. Decorating took place at night, with a fire going and carols playing. Once the tree was done (my father put the cross on the top), we would turn out the house lights and go outside. There was always snow. The four of us would stand out there, under the window, snuggled into each other and look at the lights of the tree. Eventually, my father would start to sing, usually Oh Come Emmanuel, and we would all join in. At some point, we'd know it was time to head in but there was such peace about those few moments.


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