Sometimes when I think back to Christmases gone by, certain memories stand out amongst the rest. We always plan to make every Christmas special, but somehow they take on a life of their own, especially when unexpected things happen. I thought about some of my past Christmases and thought I’d combine a few to make a blog. My memory ain’t what it used to be.
When I was a kid, we lived in a six family house on the second floor. In the two first floor apartments were the three cousins were grew up with. My brother and I always got lots of presents, things from our lists that we really wanted, and they were all toys. Santa did right by us every year! And every year, when we were done opening presents, we would run out in the hallway squealing with delight, holding our favorite toy, and yelling what did you get for Christmas to my cousins. My cousin Paul always said the say thing every year, “I got underwear.” I thought he was kidding, till we got dressed and went downstairs, and there, under the tree, were open boxes of underwear. I almost died laughing this morning when I thought of that. I’m sure he got other things, but the underwear is all that stands out in my mind.
Then there was the Christmas when my older daughter, who was six years old and in first grade, came home complaining that her back was itchy. I picked up her shirt to see what was clearly chicken pox. I said, “Uh oh, you have chicken pox. You finally caught it.” She was horrified and very dramatic about it. “Oh no! Am I going to miss the Christmas party at school?” The Christmas party was only a couple of days away and there was no way she would be over it by then. My heart broke for her as I tried to break the bad news to her and cheer her up at the same time. There was nothing to do about it, but let it run it’s course. She didn’t get too bad of a case of chicken pox, so she was able to enjoy her time at home playing, watching television, and listening to me say, “Whatever you do, do not scratch your face!” several thousand times.
Another year I became possessed and decided to get a puppy for Christmas. I always loved Pomeranians, but didn’t do my homework. Yes they are cute, but they are not couch potatoes like we are, but that’s a story for another day. In any case, I bought everything a puppy would need, as their gifts and, of course, a puppy. My friend kept it at her house until midnight, Christmas Eve. Then my husband and I put him in the box and wrapped it before the girls woke up early in the morning. When they came downstairs they saw a big box in the middle of the living room and didn’t know what to make of it. Probably the little sounds the puppy was making in the box got them curious. My younger daughter interpreted the sounds as chirping and thought there was a bird in the box. I told them they would just have to open it and see. Well, they were really surprised! My younger daughter took him out and cuddled him. My older daughter kept her distance. The puppy squirmed so much she put him down on the floor and he promptly ran right into a wall and stunned himself, like they do in the cartoons. Once he snapped out of it, he began terrorizing my older daughter, who was up on the couch screaming with her insulated gloves on for protection. My younger daughter was laughing at her sister most of the day and enjoying her new puppy the rest of the time. We named him Rudolph, Rudy for short, after the reindeer. When my mother came over and saw Rudy, she told me I was crazy. Rudy spent a good part of the day trying to chew on my mother’s socks. That was not helpful at all with her negative attitude. We had set up a children’s playpen in the other room, for Rudy, so that we could enjoy part of the day. This way he would have a safe place to play, eat and sleep and, he could see us without getting into more trouble.
Unfortunately, he managed to get in a lot more trouble over the years. Rudy has chewed through a television cord, ate my wallpaper in the same spot two times, broke the arm on my dining room chair, destroyed the playpen, escaped from the house twice only to come back a few minutes later…I better stop thinking before I have a stroke.
It’s 13 years later and this dog still has not calmed down. He still thinks he is a puppy and wakes us up at 5:30 am every morning because he wants to go out. If anyone out there is thinking of getting a puppy…do your homework first! Merry Christmas!