Thursday, July 30, 2015

Remembering July

Inspired by an article Josh sent to me this morning, about the importance and need to make the "clackety noise" on the keyboard, I’m sharing another TBT post and these other favorite Christmas pictures. 

Christmas 2011
There are such special memories I have of the many Christmas visits with my parents over the years. Welcoming Mom and Dad as they drove in our driveway, running out to greet them with the children, and feeling as though their car doors weren’t opening quickly enough...grabbing the red and white cooler and hearing Mom say that the big cool whip container of creton was mine and that there was one inside for Kevin too, and how she made zucchini bread and pumpkin bread, and those shortbread sandwich cookies that I love. “I used pink and green frosting too!” 

“Oh you girls make such delicious food!” Dad would exclaim as the children guided him into our home. “Take our room”, I’d tell him as he asked as to where he should put the suitcases. “Oh! We get the Walker Inn Suite!?” he’d ask. “Ooooh! Such nice accomodations at this Bed and Breakfast” and we’d all laugh. 
Christmas Eve 2010

When it was time to leave for the childrens’ Mass on Christmas Eve, I’d hear Dad whistle when he saw Mom all dressed up and he’d ask the children, “Isn’t your grandmother the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen?!” and when I came down the stairs, he’s whistle again and say, “Oh Anne, you look just like your mother!” 

At Mass Mom and Dad would take their seats across from the choir where Eric, the children and I would sit to sing. They would beam with pride. Returning home Mom and I prepared the annual buffet meal together with the girls’ help while the boys helped us set the table. We’d welcome Eric’s parents, brother, and grandparents too and I’d listen to Dad and Papa Paul discuss the “good ol’ days”

“You’ll have us up bright and early, I’m sure”, Dad would exclaim as he and Mom headed upstairs for the night. But before he retired, Dad would sneak into the living room to fill our stockings with pens, soaps, and chocolates. He’d wrap a few presents too and place them in the branches of our tree. 

“Oh my God! What time is it?!” he’d exclaim loudly as giggling children pushed his arm, attempting to get him up so we could send Eric downstairs to turn on the Christmas tree lights. Mom would giggle and head to grab her robe and Dad would groan and laugh as the kids begged him to rise. 

Dad was cold one Christmas morning and came out of the bathroom wearing my green fleece robe. It made me laugh when he said, “Oh! This is a good one! This will keep me nice and warm!” It became a tradition after that for him to wear one of my robes. Dad would also grab his Santa hat (he packed it in his suitcase each year) and one year I found my own. We posed for a picture. I’m grateful for that. 

Another picture I am grateful to have snapped is this one of Dad and the children waiting on the stairs for the Christmas tree lights to be turned on, the traditional “permission signal” for them to see the stockings and their presents. Forever playful, Dad took his seat on the stairs with the children. 
Christmas morning 2011

It was a beautiful last Christmas with Mom and Dad, but truth be told, every Christmas with them was special. I am so incredibly lucky to say that I missed only two with them in the 45 years I had with Dad during my lifetime, one in 2009 and one in 2012. In 2009 I cried like a child hearing that they would not be able to make it down to our home. But my daughter and I, in our sadness, began crafting a silly song to raise our spirits. As we sang the song and continued adding verses, a sense of peace came over me. I realized that as sad as I was, the love and the memories and the traditions Mom and Dad had helped my family build over the years would never fade. Our family enjoyed a very special Christmas in 2009 and again in 2012 when we again could not celebrate with Mom and Dad, we knew we’d indeed continue to have a very Merry Christmas for years and years to come. 

In January 2013 my parents called me. They had just received the shoebox of Christmas cookies I had mailed to them. There were several varieties in the box---some with chocolate, my Mom’s favorite, and some without, so Dad could enjoy them too. Hearing both of them exclaim over how wonderful it was to receive this gift of cookies made me smile. In the two Christmases since Dad’s passing, I’ve continued baking several varieties of cookies and now I take Mom’s favorites over to her at her new home and we eat a few together. 

My Dad was always so loving and affectionate, but he was also very honest. He was clear to remind me that someday he would not be around, and although I always tried hard to brush off what Mom and I called, “Dad’s morbid talk”, Dad did savor the present moment, of that there is no doubt, and taking my Christmas memories book, which he so loved reading and rereading each year, he would say, “Write it down, Anne. Write it down, so you’ll always remember”. 

Christmas morning 2011

I love you, all. <3

Christmas Eve 2014

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