Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas memories

 I like to start my shopping early but hiding presents for that long is a challenge. When my kids were smaller, there were a few years where I left all the presents in the trunk of my car. I'd go out at lunch time and buy things, but then I had to pick the kids up after work, and it was so hard to sneak things into the house because they were always with me! By December 24, I was driving around with a trunk full of loot. Even though I used to worry about my car getting stolen with all the gifts in it, or getting rear-ended and all the gifts damaged, I did it anyway. Then as the kids got older, there was the chance they'd open the trunk and see everything, especially when they started driving and borrowing my car. They weren't suspicious at all when I'd give them the keys and say, "Okay, but don't look in the trunk!" As if that would stop them.

I remember the year when I was a kid that I found all the Christmas presents hidden on a high shelf in the hall closet. Somehow I managed to find a time when my parents weren't around. I climbed on a chair and got those presents down and I peeked at every one of them. I was so excited and happy to know I was getting everything I wanted for Christmas! But on Christmas morning when I unwrapped all those presents already knowing what they were…it wasn't so much fun. I had to fake happiness so my parents wouldn't know I'd peeked, and it was horrible. I never did that again.

349/365 Present snooping
Now I hide presents in the house (I'm not saying where, in case any curious people are reading this). But my memory isn't as good as it used to be and since I start shopping early, I often forget where I hid things. There has been more than one Christmas morning when the presents are all opened and I'm looking around and saying "Oh dear. We seem to be missing something. Where the hell did I put it?" And there have been times I've found those hidden presents in July.

One year when my husband and I were first married, we were opening gifts first with his family and then with my family. My husband had bought me two gifts - one to open at each place. When I started unwrapping the present in front of his parents and his older brothers and their wives, I heard my husband mutter, "Oh shit." I looked up at him just as I pulled out a slinky little ivory lace teddie and held it up for everyone to see. "Wrong gift," he said, face red, as the rest of his family roared with laughter. His family is pretty straight-laced, and mine is…not J so he thought it would be better to open the sexy lingerie in front of my family…oops!
White Stretch Lace Halter Teddy with Heart Cut OutThere have been some really difficult Christmases too. My father passed away when I was 18, on December 15. That was not a merry Christmas for us. To be honest, I don't remember very much about it - I think my memory has deliberately blocked out those awful memories.

Then there was the year my son was born - December 10. You'd think that would be a joyous occasion, but he was born 12 weeks premature. He weighed 3 pounds and couldn't breathe on his own and had every health problem a preemie can have. He spent Christmas in the NICU hooked up to machines and tubes. Christmas day was the first time I got to hold him, sitting in a rocking chair with a tiny oxygen mask held to his face.

The next Christmas was the year my husband lost his job. He'd been planning to start his own business for a long time, and that was really just the push he needed to do it, but being unemployed just before Christmas isn't great. But after the last year when my son was born and we were all worried about whether he'd even survive, being without a job really didn't seem like the end of the world when we were all together and healthy - and that's what really matters at Christmas.

Share some of your fav Christmas memories!


Meg Benjamin said...

Hey Kelly, my birthday's 12/12 (this year 12/12/12!). So Happy Birthday to your son!

Kim B said...

When I was little Santa always came to my house and delivered my presents to me Christmas Eve. I would sit on his lap and he would take each one out of the bag...Yes, I was spoiled, but not rotten...ok, I was spoiled rotten. My brothers, who are significantly older than me, would also help by taking me out for a ride to see if we could find Santa's sleigh in the sky. We would see him and race home just in time for Santa to come in and give me my presents. The drive, I believe, started after my fifth Christmas. That year, my mom went outside before Santa arrived. I went and looked out the window. And oh my gosh! She was talking to Santa and he was holding a doll and a bag! I just watched (not realizing Santa doesn't come and talk to your mom on the sidewalk) and then my dad said, "Now Kim don't ruin it, get away from the window". At the time I had no idea what he meant, but I can remember as plain as day him saying it.

Kelly Jamieson said...

That's a pretty cool birthday Meg - 12/12/12!!!

Kim, that is awesome!! Thanks for sharing that!

SheriV said...

Wow. Last year my son was born December 3rd prematurely and then spent 5 weeks in the NICU with some serious complications and then this year my husband lost his job right before I can say I definitely understand.

But nothing is so hard after the NICU.