Monday, December 19, 2016

It's Gonna Be a Wet Christmas...

One recent Friday evening my husband and I went to the annual Christmas Parade on Main Street. It had been several years and I had forgotten how magical it was. 

We were huddled against the cold with hundreds of others in our small Virginia town as we watched elves dance down the street, enjoyed holiday classics performed by the high school marching band, saw decked out fire engines, smiled at the creative local business floats and laughed when we saw live goats dressed like reindeer.

I love living in a small town.

I began to reminisce about other times spent on this very street. In my mind’s eye, I saw my father, dressed in his best long black wool coat, walking down Main Street as he stopped to laugh and talk to everyone he knew during a Christmas parade long ago. It took a while…he knew everyone. My eyes started to tear up at the memory.

My husband looked at me and said, “You OK?” 

“Daddy,” I answered softly. 

“Oh,” he said. Since my dad’s death three years ago, he’d become accustomed to my “watery eyes” when I think of my dad.

As I looked down the street, I saw a grandmother helping her daughter juggle a toddler, bulky stroller, hot chocolate and an armful of packages and my eyes started to water again. I remembered the hundreds of times my mom had been with my kids and me for spring festivals, Halloween parades and our then weekly trips to church all on this very street. 

“Oh no,” my husband sighed as he glanced at me again.

But he misunderstood.

I wasn’t sad. 

I was overwhelmed with gratitude. 

Gratitude for the memories of growing up and raising my family in this precious little town. Thankful that my parents and siblings were active participants in the lives of my children. Grateful for the holidays spent together, in good times and bad, as an extended family. 
Waves of gratitude flowed over me as decades of memories flooded my mind. And then a new thought emerged. A new realization.

Next year, it would start all over again. 

At that exact moment, a tiny head peeked over the shoulder of the man standing in front of us on the street. I was staring into the eyes of a beautiful baby and could instantly see the pure innocence and immense wisdom in this tiny little being.

My own daughter is pregnant with our first grandchild, due early next year. 

Next Christmas, family traditions will begin anew. 

I was again overwhelmed with gratitude as I imagined my perfect grandson, little Emory, cuddled in my arms as I introduced him to our Main Street Christmas Parade. I thought of all the wonderful memories yet to come. My eyes watered again, my chin began to quiver and tears spill down my cheeks. Just then my poor husband looked my way.

“When are you going to stop crying?” he asked gently.

“No time soon…” I answered.