I mentioned that it was a quiet Christmas for my husband and I in a nation that is largely unfamiliar with its roots, stories, and traditions. When I talked to my Grandpa the day after Christmas Day, we reminisced about the zeal my Grandmother always had for Christmas and for entertaining.
At this time of year I especially giggle to myself when I remember the shiny balls that she loved to hang on the tree which got bigger and bigger every year until the tree’s bows bent under the weight, and the Christmas that she really went overboard with gifts, and after hearing an argument in the kitchen between she and my mom, my sisters and I noticed that many of the tags on the packages under the tree had Grandma crossed out, and ‘Santa’ in her handwriting added to them! Kind of blew Santa’s cover if you know what I mean…
To this day around the holidays, my family still quotes the above title, in reference to the one Thanksgiving when my mom had opted for a smaller cut of turkey, and my Grandma on the other end of the phone gasped in horror, “You’re not getting a whole bird?!” and protested, “But the children’s eyes won’t light up with glee!”
The Thanksgiving when my mom did get “the whole bird” and unveiled it to us, apparently we kind of wrinkled up our faces, and pouted, “Where’s the head?” Not exactly the eyes-lightiing-up-with-glee reaction Grandma was going for!
This Christmas, though, with a smaller, albeit sizeable pile of gifts under the tree, my husband and I still felt loved and remembered, fondly missed by our family back in the states, and some of our favorite moments were hearing the squeals of glee on the other end when our nieces opened up our presents from China, hearing the myriad of plans my family had made in Arizona to celebrate the season, and seeing tears squirt out of my sister’s eyes as she talked about the matching bright blue lazy-all ensembles she and her husband’s family received from their grandparents this Christmas!
In all of her crazy methods, and her over-enthusiasm for the Christmas season that was not without its conflicts, I was always sure of one thing: that my Grandma’s desire to see my eyes light up with glee came from a deep, pure place of love for her family. There are so many more stories I could tell about my Grandma’s eccentric character and electric personality, but I’ll save those for another day.
Today I’m left thinking about the wonders of technology that allowed us to recently connect with our family, despite the distance, and the intricacies of the heart and the way it can feel so much pain and yet so much joy at the same time, as we miss those whom we’ve loved and lost.
I know Grandma would be happy to know that this Christmas, despite being miles away from those I love, my eyes lit up with glee!