I made the mistake of looking through old photo albums last week. I say “mistake” because this deterred me a couple of hours away from my objective: finding a particular photo among scads of them. It only took 3 minutes to find it. The other 2 hours were revisiting memory lane.
That explains why it has taken me almost 4 years to get moving on a surprise project for our kids that I wanted to do as soon as I retired. Now there are 2 such projects in the works, making my office look like I have a PhD instead of an Associate degree. (Smart people without PhD’s will know what I’m talking about.)
The photo albums invoked so many emotions. Christmas’s past ran the spectrum from happy to heartbreaking. “Visitation right” conflicts, court orders and angry feelings would go with the holidays like a black cloud. I began to dread the holidays instead of looking forward to them. Christmas had become an emphasis of our inability to be together as a whole family.
Then, a friend helped me see the light. She must have been sick of my lamenting and whining because she sat me down and told me that I had the power to make any day Christmas, it did not have to be the court controlled 25th of December, but any day we could all be together.
And so, the “tree trimming” party came into being. A weekend in early December when everyone happened to be home. Often we had an open house, inviting close family & friends, making and eating snacks. Laughing a lot.
The kids made ornaments and decorated cookies, trying to out-do each others creations. Some were so creative we should not hang them on the tree, but we did anyway. We played games in the dinning room instead of having a “real” dinner. We only turned the TV on if the 49ers were playing, or we were having Tetris Wars.
Now the kids are grown and hubby and I are grandparents. I love being able to watch the old Christmas “specials” again, have cookie decorating help and this year we have an Elf Bowling tournament going on. I haven’t had this much fun since tree-trimming party’s past.
Anyway – as I wrap up my long overdue project, and finish my celebration happy dance, I remember that this Christmas is only 20 days away and I have only a million things to do, and less than 3-weeks to do them in. That was just one sentence, proving how busy and in a hurry I am getting. Taking a deep breath…
Only our Lord knows what the Christmas Future holds. But I do know I will be feeling love and happiness with no black clouds in sight!
A Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.
Now that I have more shelves, cupboards, and filing cabinets, the boxes in the back of closets and stacked in the bedrooms can now be unloaded and put away.
Not as easy as it sounds, I find.
A lot of family history in photo albums and scrapbooks are in those boxes. Of course, I knew that. What I did not know, what mom never told me about, were the pieces of US history, also stashed away – in the form of newspapers and magazines. For decades this history followed us through three big moves, in storage twice, and finally rests in my possession. To pass on to my granddaughters, and their children, so they can actually read and view the history they will learn about in school.
I realize that these treasures will not mean so much to them, now. Some of this happened more than two generations ago, long before they were born. They are smart and healthy and into the things that little girls are into. History will be way up there, along with Social Studies (or whatever they call it now), on their ‘boringest* stuff ‘ list.
Then they will be grown, old enough to appreciate keepsakes from the past. What I save now will be relics, I suppose. They already look like relics – wrinkled and yellowed. Like those of us who were alive when it happened…
There were headlines in huge type “EARTHQUAKE!” for both of the devastating quakes in 1979 and 1989 – in the San Francisco Bay Area. Photos of the Cyprus section of I-880 collapsed and destroyed.
I found a plastic bag of newspapers, with front-page headlines reading “JFK ASSASSINATED!”, and other headlines just as shocking, reporting that horrible week in Dallas.
I saved the week of the September 11th, 2001 newspapers. [For non-US readers: When Al Qaeda’s suicide pilots destroyed the World Trade Center Towers and defiled the Pentagon]
As important as world History is, I feel that it’s just as important to learn about your family history. Hopefully through letters, diaries, stories told, scrapbooks and photo albums and not from newspaper headlines!
Aren’t we, as parents and grandparents, obligated to pass down the family ‘stories’? If not us, then who? Future generations depend on us saving newspapers and family significant things.
Save articles & momentous items in a desk drawer, paper bag, or hat box. When the mood strikes you, they will be ready to slap into a photo album or scrapbook. 😉
* boringest: adverb. Term used for describing extremely boring activities or events. Taken from: The Dictionary of Words That Should Be