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It’s been a few years since I’ve spent Christmas in the home I grew up in. Every Christmas morning my parents would diabolically make us three kids sit at the top of the stairs and wait. We could not come down and peek at the tree until they had everything set up. They say it was so they could get the camera ready to capture our gleeful faces, but I think it was so they could enjoy a cup of coffee in peace before the chaos began.

We would sit anxiously awaiting, pushing, pinching, giggling with one another until we heard our cue. We were not allowed to come down until  my mom put on an old record of various musical artists from the 70’s. We’d strain our ears for the smooth tones of B.J. Thomas singing “God Bless the Childrensignaling our descent. As we got older it became a violent contest of who could get down first. Frenzied screams would come tumbling down the stairs as elbows were thrown, and PJ’s pulled. As the five of us opened our gifts we would listen to the record over and over. Every year I’d roll my eyes at “God Bless the Children” and its cheesiness, as I sung along under my breath and inwardly smiled at my mom’s devoted commitment to tradition.

Our home is gone and our family is broken and displaced now. Christmas has looked decidedly different each year, and most traditions have vanished with the circumstances. But this year I went “home” for the first time in 14 months and had a whirlwind of a Christmas. This year I found that old cheesy record in CD format that had only been released last year. Christmas morning I drove to my mom’s and surprised her with a gift of tradition, and Christmas memories from better years. The four of us sat in silence while we listened to the sounds of our Christmas past.

New England White Christmas

More to come on my time at home...

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