Christmas Eve Eve.
Okay, everyone think of a favorite Christmas memory. Go write it down. Now. Yes, now or you will forget it. Write it on paper, not on your hand or the unpaid bill lurking near the keyboard. Write every detail you can remember, every smell–even it’s the clashing of gumbo on the stove and pine-scented candles burning on the kitchen table, every touch of someone’s hand on your shoulder, every tinkling bell. I’ll wait for you to return.
Christmas, 1999. The picture I have of the evening is one of my most cherished ones. That was the year of the “Charlie Brown” tree that John, who was fourteen at the time, and I had chopped down on our land. We lived on eight acres, seven of which were overgrown with towering pines and scrawny bushes and assorted wildness. I think we found a pine tree wannabe. We dragged it into the house, creating a trailing mess of needles, bark, and oozing sap. I loved every pain of it. And I think it loved it as well. After we decorated, I think I even saw it smile.
We’re all in front of the fireplace, except for Michael, my oldest. He was in the Navy and stationed in Italy. Ken, me, John, Shannon, Erin pregnant with Bailey, Andrae, John my brother, his partner Rick, Sarah. My Jewish husband, my African-American son-in-law, my gay brother, my daughter with Down Syndrome. We look like a politically correct Christmas card.
We are happy. And that was everything.