I won’t be posting a blog next week because Christmas falls on Wednesday. Instead, this week I’m posting a blog from a couple of years ago because it’s one of my favorite Christmas memories.
As the day of Jesus’ birth draws closer, I’m reminiscing more and more. I’m not sure how accurate the memories are, but they’re bringing back feelings of warmth and some head-shaking reminders as well.
When our first child, Sean, was born, we decided that, from then on, Christmas Day would be at our house. I remembered my childhood Christmases and being dragged from relative to relative, leaving my new toys at home. I wasn’t going to do that to our kids. And it worked out pretty well. My parents came over for breakfast, and my wife’s parents came for dinner.
One Christmas, when Sean was a precocious eighteen months old, talking a blue streak and as mobile as a hamster on steroids, my father came over early to watch him while my wife and I went to church. Dad, who was a great cook, also said he would start breakfast.
We came home to find Dad hard at work in the kitchen. And we found Sean plopped in his car seat in the living room.
These were the days when car seats weren’t the massive safety contraptions we have now. They were simple vinyl seats on an aluminum frame that hung over the back of the chair and had a thin plastic belt to hold the child in place — the real purpose of the contraption: to let the kid could see out the windshield.
Dad had hung the car seat over the back of one of the living room chairs. Sean was quite content, watching his Poppy, maneuvering the plastic steering wheel that snapped onto the frame, and tapping the plastic horn that didn’t work because he had worn it out.
I looked at Dad. Dad looked at me and shrugged. “He wouldn’t stay out of my way.”
Another thing Dad did was to have toys at his house that matched toys our kids had at home. One was the Inch Worm, a riding toy kids would bounce on to make it move, and with each move, the thing made a loud click.
When visiting his house one day, one of the boys climbed on Dad’s version of the Inch Worm. The thing moved but didn’t make a sound. I said to Dad, “It’s broken.”
“No, it’s not,” he said. “I didn’t put the clicker in. I didn’t want to hear that noise every time it moved.” He stared at me and grinned. “Don’t tell me. You put the clicker in?” He laughed. “You’re your mother’s son.”
Dad and Sean are both in heaven now, and I’m sure they’re having a great time together and probably driving St. Peter nuts.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas. A time of drawing closer to each other and our Lord, Jesus. May you all enjoy a time of savoring friends and family and of taking the time to make new memories.