A certain radio station has officially been switched over to all Christmas music all the time from now until the day after Christmas, and like every year when they make the switch, this one was no different – I programmed the station in my car with a big happy poop-eating-grin on my mother-effin-Christmas-loving face. I understand that it’s not even Thanksgiving yet and if it’s just plain too early for you, then you probably shouldn’t ride in my car because you will be forced to listen to me sing a duet of O Holy Night with Josh Groban at the top of my lungs.
I can promise you this – from the weekly trips to Nanna’s house alone, by the time she’s 2, Summer will probably not only know all the words to “What Christmas Means to Me, My Love”, but she’ll be able to tell you if mommy was playing the Stevie Wonder or the Hanson version in the car today. Trust me, I know I’ll eventually be the reason she’ll either love or loathe Christmas when she’s older. Let’s just hope it’s the former otherwise I might as well just kill myself now, because if it’s the latter…nope, nevermind, not EVEN gonna go to that dark unhappy corner of hades.
I have so many fond and magical memories of the holidays…getting home from church and decorating the tree with my mom, laughing at the fake cupcake ornament that had real sprinkles on it that one of us actually licked off at some point, and for some reason we kept right on hanging that ornament on the tree every year. I remember the year my sister, Julie, snuck out of our room to try to catch a peek at Santa and she swore up and down that she saw his sack of presents at the bottom of the stairs. Yeah, she was like 15. I remember the grade school choral concerts and being so nervous when it was my class’s turn to go out and sing a few carols to a few hundred parents shoved nuts to butts into the pews of our church, my dad kneeling down in front of the stage with his gigantic camcorder the size of my microwave perched on his shoulder. I remember the year my grandma and aunts spent Christmas with us. I remember getting all dressed up and going downtown with my godfather, Uncle Winky, to see the play The Little Prince. And I remember every year waiting for my dad to say the word.
“Ready, Freddy?” he’d ask.
It was all I needed to feel the rush of anticipation that propelled me straight to the front hall closet where I’d get myself ready for the cold winter air. I’d button up my big coat over my sweatshirt over my turtleneck, pull on my snow boots and wrap a scarf around my neck, and I’d top it all off with a nubby hat and mittens only to climb into the car and roast like a butterball turkey the whole way there. My cheeks would get all red and rosy, not from the winter chill but instead from the heat pouring out of the car vents while my hair would end up damp and stuck to my forehead, sandwiched between my skin and my hat. It was always dark out for our trip, daylight savings time made sure of that every winter. I remember riding in the front looking out the window, because back then you know, there was no put your child in a rear-facing carseat until they’re 24-years-old rule. And my warm breath fogged up the cool glass as I’d stare out the window watching the lines on the wet road go by. The sound of the tires pushing through the slush made my head spin while I spied sparkly Christmas trees in living room windows, mentally soaking up all the twinkling lights that cast a warm glow against a cold wet backdrop of Chicago winter. We’d drive for what seemed like an eternity and I truly don’t know if every year was the same destination or if my dad would pick a different spot each time, but in my memories every year seems the same.
And finally we’d arrive, greeted by the loud grinding sounds of a noisy generator powering the big white bulbs that lined row after snowy row of the temporary makeshift lot. He’d park the car and I’d jump out, heading towards the big canopy, our boots crunching in the snow beneath us with each step as we approached the sweet smell of pine, and we’d begin the search. I never knew exactly what we were looking for but my dad always seemed to know the one when he found it, and even though we had passed 3 other lots on the way, somehow magically, it, The One, was always there at our lot waiting for us, it was just a matter of finding it. He’d declare our choice with a confident, “we’ll take that one!” and they’d shoot it through the netter for us to load in the back of our big brown van.
I always loved the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree.
Now if only I could convince Scott that while sometimes messy, a little expensive-ish, kinda fire hazardy, and carrying with it a slight risk of the doggies peeing, a real tree is way better than the nice fake prelit one that we have. 🙂
And I saw this for the baby at Target the other day and didn’t get it, though it’s been calling her/my name ever since.
Ho-ho-holy crap, Santa’s gonna throw up on my baby.