It’s a Wonderful Life
Christmas, for me, isn’t a single memory or event. It’s a collective memory of traditions and family members throughout the years.
Every year on Christmas Eve, my mom and my grandparents would load up and go in search of an elusive gift my cousin requested. Then, we’d ride around our small town and look at Christmas lights. For a little while, my grandfather put up a smorgasbord of lights and sculptures himself, competing with the crazy neighbors on the curve up the street who were something like 130 and had so many lights they had to begin in October. Or maybe it was because they were slow, I’ll never know. Come to think of it, they’re still alive and well and their lights were up just a few weeks ago when I was in town. HOW OLD ARE THEY?!
After we had finished with the Christmas lights, I’d always look up at the sky as my family rush back inside from the Georgia cold. Inevitably, what I know now as a plane, would have a flashing red light and I’d be convinced that it was Rudolph and Santa was, indeed, real. Even now, I do this, trying to recapture the magic of all the years of my youth.
My mother would tuck me into bed, then I’d get up to throw up from excitement at some point (true story) and fall asleep with my crackers and sprite, dreaming of morning and the barrage of presents under the tree and the arrival of my cousin and uncle, who was really my Santa Claus. Because they both meant Christmas.
Funny how I don’t really remember any certain gift, save one from a few years ago from my uncle. Sure, I could tell you WHAT I got for many of those Christmas’s, but none of it mattered as much as the feeling of family and contentment during those times. It took me a long time and having children of my own to realize that, too.
Now, I’m beginning new traditions with my family, in another state, far away from the “home” in which I grew up. In ways, it’s exciting. Others, it’s scary. But mostly, it’s bittersweet. I wish I could be the little kid again, looking up at the sky. Now, I enjoy watching my children’s joy on Christmas morning seeing what we’ve bought them. I hope one day, they can look back and remember everything we’ve done for them…not the gifts or anything else that will fade with time…but the lasting memories of their childhood Christmas’s that will one day be the foundation on which they build their own family traditions.
This year is another year I was blessed with to watch my children grow. I also own a wonderful company with wonderful authors whom I can honestly say are more my friends than anything else. I’ve truly been blessed and while Christmas is a time of giving for some, it’s a time of quiet reflection for me. May we all focus our lives not on what we receive, but what we can give of ourselves to other people.
Happy Holidays to all of you!
Joey McCrary needs a wife and someone to help him raise his daughter after he made some poor choices in college. Stacey has always been his friend, and even though she’s a sweet girl, nothing can compare to the feelings he has for his ex.
Joey realizes that he and Stacey can benefit one another. Joey can provide Stacey with all she’s ever wanted: a family. But can Stacey teach him a few things along the way, too?