I'm not one usually given to longing for the past. I look at the pictures and remember the times as a blessing with which I was honored. I'm fine with moving forward. But this morning I awoke at a little before 7:00 a.m. thinking of my Grandma Tookie (Trent.) She was the Christmas Eve Queen. Every year of my childhood the evening of December 24 was spent at the home of my dad's parents. Call it the vantage point of a child but I have yet to experience a Christmas Eve to compare to those days. And this morning, I miss my Grandma. This is her first Christmas Eve in heaven.
I can't recreate her Christmas Eves because she served heaping platters of delicious cold cuts and fresh bakery breads with cheese to make the most marvelous sandwiches. Jay can't eat bread so we've established the Mexican Christmas Eve here. For the Mr. and Daboyz it's a tradition they treasure but for me...it's just a notch below what Christmas Eve used to be.
This is my forty first year of awakening on Christmas Eve morning thinking of the Trents; Grandma, Grandpa and Kathy. This day always held the promise that a few blocks away the most magical moment of the year was taking shape. Christmas music would be playing on records from the huge stereo (remember the floor models with the lids you'd lift?) Alvin & The Chipmunks...Christmas Christmas time is here! Time for joy and time for cheer! I first heard Jingle Bell Rock on Christmas Eve when we walked in and Kathy had it playing. The news would be on the television as they tracked Santa's flight around the world. Often some wonderful old movie would be put on; A Christmas Carol, It's A Wonderful Life, White Christmas... Grandma and Grandpa Trent seemed as enamored as I was, always commenting that the old movie we watched was a "good one" and "my favorite" no matter which it was. Always savoring the pilaf and salad as though they were some rare delicacy we couldn't have any other day of the year. My grandma was always decked out in a sparkly sweater and giant jewelry that she chose just for us like she was entertaining at the White House. My grandpa always hugged me too hard and kissed me on top of the head even if I had just spent eighteen hours in sponge rollers and he was flattening my holiday hair.
I think I started missing those days a long time ago, when my grandma started saying someone else could host Christmas Eve if they wanted. When I got married and had to haul kids to in-laws and my Christmas Eves could not be for William Street alone. I don't know what year she stopped sitting on the floor with the "kids." My Grandma Tookie got old, she walked more slowly and was more easily tired. Her hands shook as she ate her dinner. But she still arrived in sparkling sweaters and giant jewelry and her voice was just as strong, "Merry Christmas my Number One!" (that was for my husband, I am the wife of my grandma's number one.)
I'm not sorry Grandma's in heaven this year. My tears dried up quickly and the spirit of joy she radiated has replaced my moment of sadness. But oh, if only someday my grandchild attaches the memory of me to such a deep sense of magic and wonder at Christmas time...
Merry Christmas Grandma & Grandpa.