|My two-year-old grandniece Emi got me thinking about my own childhood memories of Christmas. Here she is in her "princess tent" sent to her by her grandparents Betty and Bert. Photo by John.|
|Emi and our "Christmas tree" made from a garden obelisk. She seemed to enjoy it.|
One Christmas on the farm, I remember a morning so bright and sparkling, with the decorations inside and the sunshine on the snow outside, that the whole world seemed alight. We were in that delicious interregnum between the early-morning plunge into stockings (filled by Santa Claus) and being allowed to dive into the mysterious lumps of parcels under the tree (from our parents, each other and distant relatives), a pause required because my father had to milk the cows -- daily chores couldn't be put off for Christmas. I remember the sun reflecting off a many-sided silver ball on the Christmas tree, the way the cold made the outdoors crisp and sparkly, the security of knowing that dad would soon be back in the house, and the day's real high point would unfold.
As the years go by, it's easy to lose the excitement of Christmas, and forget why it once seemed like an epochal event. My two-year-old grandniece Emi is still too young to build up a lot of feelings around the day, but having her visit this year made me remember what it used to mean to me. For her, and for all other kids, I wish a Christmas memory as vivid and wonderful as the one I can still conjure up on demand 60-some years later.
|The house ready for guests on Christmas Day. Notice Emi's little chair by the tree.|
|Okay, having a two-year-old can be exhausting, especially if she gets hyper on chocolate. Here, Emi's mom Aya seems to seek patience, while I lie back looking similarly thoughtful on the couch. All photos by John.|