Growing up, Christmastime at my grandparents house in Anaconda Montana was magical. Even though we lived in Seattle, we would always make the drive back, no matter what. Grandma would always have at least 5 different kinds of homemade cookies, the house was decorated everywhere with lights, and the tree was always one picked and chopped by my grandpa and uncles. It always smelled so good at grandma's! Seeing ornaments that my mom had made growing up was always a wonder to me. My mom was once a little girl? Weird!
My grandparents had 7 kids, some moved out to Seattle, some to California, some stayed in the little town. But nearly every year, each one would make it home for the holidays. There were aunts and uncles and spouses and old family friends, all crammed in a small house, fighting for a spot to sit on the old gas stove because it was so cold outside. Wall to wall people, and a feeling of belonging to something very special.
There were really only four of us little kids that grew up together. We were all about 2 years apart in age. Every year, my grandpa would have their neighbor, Ray, dress up as Santa. He would come about 7:00 pm every Christmas Eve, toy sack and all. He would ask if we'd really been good, and then personally deliver one toy that each of us got to open right then. We thought we were so special, because none of our friends got a personal visit from Santa!
Since my grandma passed in 1998, we, as a family, have just never been able to recapture that magic. The youngest ones in our family are now 16 and 14, and they were born after that special time. Everyone is so busy with work and sports and activities that trying to get everyone together gets really complicated. Our kids are grown, and have to split time with the other family members of their significant others. It is sad to know what could be, but just not be able to make it happen.
Some things that we take for granted don't last. And you never know when those times will change, and how long you may have with those you love. Today is the good old days. Revel in it, hold on to each other, make being together happen. Say I Love You, stay connected. It's really all that matters.
Merry Christmas everyone!