My Most Memorable ChristmasIt is said that every Christmas in a child’s life is special.
This is because of the way the magical season is portrayed in the eyes of the innocent. The air has a certain exciting crackle that only a child’s ears can hear. The air has that peculiar but warm scent that one can only associate with the holiday season. The child sees the world as filled with love and anticipation for the coming special day.
It is a wonderful feeling that we continue to recreate every year for the rest of our lives. The way we see the season may differ as we get older and used to the activities of the holidays but for any child, there is always that one special Christmas when her innocence is at its peak and the amazement and wonderment she has for the season cannot seem to be fathomed by her parents. A particular Christmas that would seem like the worst Christmas ever for other people, but for the child, the unexpected events that unfolded on that day created a memory that she carries with her for the rest of her life.
This is the story of one particular child’s memorable Christmas.
My most memorable Christmas.I distinctly remember, the year was 1997. It was a week before Christmas and my dad had come into my room before the sun was up to tell me that he was going to take a trip that morning. He was going over to Detroit to visit his parents because they could not come down to Ohio to spend the holidays with us.
He promised that he would be home in time to open gifts with me on Christmas day, just as we did every year. I do not know what it was about that particular day but something did not feel right. When I heard he was leaving, I suddenly got a feeling deep down in my gut. Something was telling me not to let him go away because he would not be able to come back in time.
I remember that he picked me up from bed and stood me up. He told me to come down to breakfast because mom was making sunny pancakes for breakfast. If I hurried, I could see him to the car and give him my lucky hug before he left. We hurried through breakfast because dad wanted to be on the road before the rest of the city was on the highway leading out of town.
I saw my mom preparing some of his last minute needs as the two of us sat at the breakfast nook having breakfast. I made dad promise not to leave until I had finished ever little bit of food on my plate. I think it was obvious to him that I was simply trying to kill time and delay him from leaving. So after a few more minutes of watching me eat and chew as slow as possible, he took my fork and told me to open up the gas tank.
It was a game we played often when I had no appetite and refused to eat. After he had made me eat every scrap on my plate, he got up from his chair and kissed the top of my head. “See you on Christmas Eve.” he told me.
I told him “I won’t open any gifts until you get home. Snowman!” I shouted as he left the dining area. “Build it first thing when I get back princess!” he assured me.He called us everyday from Detroit just to make sure that mom and I were holding out okay during the build up to Christmas day.
Mom and I spent most of our time going through the garage and picking out which holiday trimmings we would be using that year. Mom had a collection of holiday decorations that she collected when she was still single. Every Christmas, she would let me pick out a theme for our holiday decorations and the two of us would stay in the garage for a whole day as we picked out the proper decorations. We had a thermos of hot chocolate with us while we did this because the heater did not work out in the garage and we would most likely freeze without the hot liquid to warm us up.
The day before Christmas, we got another phone call from dad telling us that he would be home on Christmas day instead. Grandma has asked him to spend Christmas Eve with them and he did not have the heart to turn them down since they only saw each other once a year since he got married and had his own family. I was disappointed that he was not going to be with us for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner and acted like a brat. I refused to answer the phone when mom tried to pass me the phone because dad wanted to talk to me.
I went to bed with a childhood tantrum and disappointed in my father. The next morning, my mom nudged me very gently to wake me. The snow was beginning to fall and she wanted me to see the first snowfall of the season. I went to the window to watch the snowfall with her, still disappointed that my dad was not yet home and thinking how much better the scene would have been if he was home with us already.
When I was not helping my mom with our Christmas day activities that did not involve gift opening or picture taking, I would be sitting by the steps outside our house waiting for the familiar sound of my dad’s car coming up the road. But morning had turned into afternoon and there was no sign of my dad. I could sense that mom was getting worried because the day was wearing on and dad had not called us even once that day. When day turned into night, I began to get restless and angry at my father for breaking his promise to me.
It was too late to build the snow man now and Christmas was almost over and I could not open my gifts because I had to wait for him to get home. “Why did I tell him I was not going to open my gifts till he got home?” I asked myself. I started asking my mom if she wanted to call Grandma, just to make sure that dad was on his way home already. But she told me that was not necessary.
If anything was wrong or dad would not be getting home, he was sure to call us. And call us he did.At 9 PM, he called to tell us that he was in Ohio with a flat tire and without a spare. Could mom come down and pick him up? Without hesitation, mom bundled me up warmly and we were off to pick up dad.
I was filled with excitement and anticipation as we drove through the Ohio roads and saw the nicest snow laced holiday scenes I had ever seen in my life. It was passing through a real winter wonderland and I expected Frosty the Snowman to pop out of nowhere anytime.It was 3 AM, the day after Christmas when we finally got home. A tired but happy bunch who were just happy to be a complete family for the season.
My dad did not forget the promise he made to me the day he left for Detroit. It was 3 AM and we were practically freezing in the cold but he helped me build the first snowman of the season out in our front yard. Mom had gone into the house and came back soon after with mugs of hot cocoa and marshmallows to warm us up as we sat on the front steps watching the street come to life. After downing our drinks, dad picked me up and we headed into the house to open Christmas gifts.
It did not matter that it was the day after Christmas. As far as I was concerned, it was still Christmas Day because my dad had come home and fulfilled all the promises he made to me.
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