She doesn’t remember how old she was, she just remembers it was Christmas Eve and she was sleeping on the couch.
Her uncle was visiting and he was sleeping in her bed. She didn’t mind because if she slept on the couch, Mommy would leave the lights on on the Christmas tree and it was so beautiful!
The tree was so big! It was almost as big as Daddy, and he was a big man..
The tree was silver and when they were busy putting it together it would scratch her skin. Oh, it didn’t hurt..just felt a little funny.
She doesn’t remember shopping for it, but she does remember how big the box looked sitting in the livingroom floor. Mommy opened the box and took out all the pieces. That tree sure looked funny in the box, but Mommy promised that once they got it put together it would be beautiful….and she was right.
Once it was put together, Mommy began to put the lights on. They were beautiful!! Blue and red, green and orange and the best part was…they blinked!! She wondered how many other little girls had trees that blinked.
Then Mommy brought out this stuff that looked like shiny, red rope. They worked to get it wrapped around the tree, standing back every now and then, tilting their head one way then the next to see if it was even. She really didn’t understand what even meant, but she did understand pretty..and this tree was pretty.
Next, she and Mommy sat on the floor and put hooks on the most pretty ornaments she’d ever seen in her little life!! There were shiny balls and icicles. There were little Santa Clauses and elves! Mommy even had a couple of angels. After getting all of the hooks on, they began to hang them on the tree. She was so excited!! Excited to the point that Mommy had to keep reminding her to be careful!! Oh..she surely didn’t want to break even one of these beautiful trinkets.
For the next few days at school, they would make an ornament to take home and hang on their tree. She wondered if Mommy would let her do that. After all, the tree was so pretty and her handmade ornaments…well..weren’t.
That first day she carried home a piece of white paper cut in the shape of a ball. She’d spent so much time making sure each piece of colored macaroni…and by the way, how did that macaroni get all of those different colors??….was in just the right spot. Then she took paste and pasted each piece carefully to the "ball". Oh, darn!! No matter how many ways she tilted her head, it just didn’t look right, but, it was time to go home and so, with ornament in hand, she began her trip home.
By this time, she was used to the walk and now even Scott waited on her and they walked hand in hand until he had to turn off on his street. He was a little shorter than her, but that was okay..it made it easier to look at that beautiful white hair…..
Once inside her apartment, she carefully laid the ornament on the table. Turning on Captain Kangaroo and sitting on the couch, her eyes would wander from the tree to the ornament. There was no way Mommy would hang that awful thing on their beautiful tree. She even thought about throwing it away before Mommy got home from work, but just maybe there would be a chance…..
She heard the now familiar sound of the locks clicking open and turning, saw a snow covered Mommy walking in the door. As usual, Mommy was tired, but she always had a hug ready and wanted to hear about her little girl’s day.
Sheepishly the little girl showed Mommy the ornament, trying as best she could to hold back the tears. It was truly an awful looking thing….but to her surprise and absolute astonishment, Mommy went and got one of those hooks and put it on her construction paper and macaroni ball and hung it right in front on the tree!!! Not only did Mommy think it was beautiful but she even gave it a place of honor!! She had the best Mommy in the world!!
So laying on the couch on Christmas Eve night, her eyes wandered from the macaroni ball to the Santa Clauses and the angels. The lights were blinking and she knew she needed to be getting to sleep so Santa could come but that tree was just soooo beautiful……
She heard a noise. Like someone was moving the presents under the tree. Peeking through her sleepy eyelids she saw him!!! You know…HIM….Santa Claus!!!! He was bent over putting things under the tree!! Oh no!! What would happen if HE knew she saw him? Should she sit up? No… Should she cough? No…Should she even breathe??? She was so excited…she was actually looking at the real Santa Claus! No one was ever going to believe this…not even Scott!
She decided she would just hold her breath as long as she could and peek out of her eyelashes so that maybe Santa wouldn’t realize that she was awake.
"Oh no!! He’s turning around..he’s looking at me!! Don’t move. Don’t even breath…"
The next thing she knew it was morning. When did she fall back asleep and when did Santa leave? Did she really even see Santa?? No matter. Sitting up she saw all of those presents and knew he’d been there and it was time to wake up Mommy and Daddy. Running through the apartment and jumping on the bed she tried to explain to them it was time to get up. Wake up uncle and let’s get busy opening those presents!! And by the way she saw Santa….Mommy just smiled and told her that she couldn’t have saw Santa, he don’t let people see him. But she knew she saw him…didn’t she??
To this very day when she shares that memory with Mama, Mama just smiles……