I put them in the attic early each January. I wrap them up carefully because they are so incredibly special. I store them in boxes eleven months of the year, and then, right after Thanksgiving, the kids and I unpack these holiday memories.
There are so many. There is the mule ornament from our Grand Canyon vacation. Her mother surprised us with a donkey dive into the vast hole.
The guide proudly announced, “We’ve never had a mule fall into the canyon.”
Although I was grateful to hear this good news, even the thought of dropping 6,000 feet while clinging onto the mane of a donkey threw me into a full-on panic attack.
I told Lisa, “My ass ain’t gettin’ on that ass.”
I wasn’t a virgin, and this was not Bethlehem.
When Lisa returned, her legs permanently bowed and her derriere scabbed over, it was difficult not to say, “I told you so.”
As she walked toward the shower, I let a little “hee-haw” slip from my mouth.
She flipped me the bird.
I laugh each year when I think of that day.
Usually, memories strike like a slow sink drip. At Christmas, they pour out like a fire hose.
Cards from old friends who have long moved on.
Those hymns we sing but once each year.
The annual Christmas pageant, the one she directed ten years ago.
Those cookies I work to recreate with limited success.
It’s not just Lisa. I seem to remember my grandparents more at this time of year – Grandmother Tanner’s seven layer cake, an annual Thanksgiving tromp through the woods with my granddad.
The beautiful thing is that the girls and I now have new memories that have been created: the late night Christmas Eve service which we couldn’t do when they were younger, the creation of some sort of wonky Christmas card picture, big colored lights on the tree which were outlawed before.
Even though they can be painful, I’m thankful I have fond memories. I just wish they’d come a little bit slower at this time of year.