memories of christmas past and present

yeah, ok so we all know i’m a hoarder.

my favorite thing to hoard (besides hotel accoutrements)?  most definitely memories—the ones in my head or the ones i take with a camera for posterity.

tonight as we participated in the annual Decorating The Tree Ritual,

yes, that's the Saint-Giants game.

with Charlie Brown Christmas playing, the memories poured forth, and not just from me. there was (to the female friend who was over) the typical:

“yeah,  dad makes us do this every year”

comment, but also a

“no, dad. we always do the new ornament first

reminder. there was laughter over hand-made ornaments, diligent searches for each son’s collection of years 1-5 Hallmark ornaments, and stories about ornament origins. we also reminisced about church musicals: zach’s stint as Linus and his Christmas speech, the little boys as woodstocks, and the younger ginger’s harboring of a grudge over the year he had to be a donkey. (i did what any father would do and told him it was his mother’s idea.)

also in the forefront of our collective memory was that this year, it was back down to just the three of us, which it has been off and on throughout the last 20 years. there were a couple of years with just the three little boys; and there were the core years with the four boys together.

Christmas 1999, our first Christmas together

those were among the happiest.

as i sit here after The Ritual—“the last” Christmas with a child at home—these memories flood my conscious experience (much like my behemoth Eastern Syndicate™ tree does this room). i smile when i reflect that, after observing the boys tonight, these memories may become the seeds of traditions that will grow within their own families some day. i look forward to visiting them and passing down their “collections” of physical memories so that they can share them with their children. and leaving a cold drink on their tables so it will make a nice “memory” in the wood. but i digress.

Christmas 1996

but, that’s for christmas-future. (distant future.)

i’m going to mull over my newest christmas-past memory—this one low-key, no-fuss, joyful—now filed somewhere in  my cerebral cortex among the hoards of other memories.

i am thankful for another opportunity to create memories—no matter the configuration of children. in our hearts, these memories burn brightly, and, as if on cue the Charlie Brown gang hum “Hark The Herald,” it’s as if we’re all still together.

i imagine this is how it will be in the home.

only with adult diapers and the smell of vicks vaporub. but at least i’ll have my memories—the ones i can remember anyway.

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