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Memory Upon Memory
I know I haven't finished posting about the birthday tea - and I will - but tonight my heart is so full I just need to write it all down. My dad, aunt, cousin, and our oldest son were here tonight for an early Christmas family celebration. My aunt, great-aunt, and cousin will be in Tennessee at Christmas, so this was our time together with them. See, growing up in Arkansas we all lived within a three-mile radius, saw each other on a daily basis, spent all of our holidays together. Time has moved on and we live a little further apart, and many of our dearly beloved have passed on from this life: my mother, all four of my grandparents, all but one of my great-aunts (who is nearly ninety-five).

I posted earlier about memories from my grandparents' home on Christmas Eve. I read a recipe here last month for chocolate-covered cherries, which my grandmother always made from scratch on Christmas Eve; I knew then that making those and the homemade hot cocoa were things I wanted to do when my family got together for Christmas.

Memories from my grandparents' home are very sentimental, especially after my grandmother passed on in August. I had made the fondant center for the cherries, which was in the fridge cooling when everyone arrived, and I'd made the homemade hot cocoa, too. My cousin and I made the rest of the chocolate-covered cherries together, which was just as emotional an experience for her, too. Every step of the way I kept thinking, "This is what my grandmother did." My oldest daughter, who celebrated her tenth birthday last week, was born when I was the same age as my grandmother was when she gave birth to my mother, so she had a ten-year-old daughter at my age, too. Thoughts like this filled my mind all evening.

My dad, who is simply the greatest, gave my husband and me this wonderful record/CD/tape player with AM/FM radio! Growing up, my mother did most of the Christmas shopping; but there was always one day when my dad did his shopping. It was just one gift, but it was always the best. My mom was very practical, even as a grandmother; she hated to see money blown on too many toys or junk. She liked to get clothes, shoes, coats - necessary things. But my dad's gifts were just plain fun; the ones we couldn't wait to open.

Isn't it beautiful?

The presence of the record player meant one thing: bringing up my stash of old albums from the basement.

Would you look at this stash of Elvis albums? I even have the Moody Blue "blue" album and the four-record set of #1 hits.

Do you recognize any of these? I'm betting some of you had them, too.

So that's how I find myself up late at night, blogging and listening to Journey's Escape which I haven't heard in more years than I care to count. And missing my mother and my grandmother. I am so, so thankful for the precious family that surrounded me this evening. I don't know what memories will be special for my kids, but I hope to instill in them a love for home and family, like my parents did for me.

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Blogger Code Yellow Mom said...

I've found that there is nothing like Christmas time to bring back all the deepest feelings of love for family members. My grandfather died while I was in Ukraine and it was years after I came back that I didn't catch myself thinking at Thanksgiving or Christmas as I drove home from college, "I get to see Grandpa!" and then remembering that seeing him wasn't part of coming home anymore - it was going to be a while...The little saying is true, though: God gave us memories so we could have spring flowers in December.

And good recipes so we could think of our moms and grandmas and feel just that little bit more connected to them.

This is a beautiful post - I have tears in my eyes. What a gift families and memories are.

Blogger lrlwreath said...

This is so sweet. I was very close to my grandparents. Reading this brought back all the awesome memories. I can understand why your heart is so full.

Blogger Doris said...

And I think you're doing just that... instilling a love for family and home. Merry, merry Christmas Dawn.

Blogger Melanie said...

Beautiful gift- because he knows your love for music. That's what makes it so special. Play some Ray for me. :>)

Blogger Queen Shenaynay said...

Awww. You've got me all choked up. I loved stopping for a night at your grandparents' place every Christmas season, on our way between one set of grandparents and the other. It was always chaotic at the big, extended family gathering in Dallas, and it was so soothing to me to walk in the back door at Fort Smith where everyone still looked like family... but were jovial at a lower volume.

It was one of those Christmas nights when I was a girl that I grabbed your little baby chair and started pulling it across the carpet in front of Uncle Ray's chair... and you grabbed the seat and started walking along with it... and then suddenly let go and took a few steps. Everyone squealed. I felt like I had played such an important role in your life. Haha.

And I remember those cherries. Mercy me. Yes.

Love you, cousin.

Blogger Belle-ah said...

I am so glad you have the memories and had some family gathered around to share the holiday with. I also wonder what my children will remember and want to recreate for their own families. Merry Christmas.

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