This was originally posted on December 21, 2008, at the original Life by the Creek blog. I put the Christmas quilt on Adam’s bed today and decided that it deserved to be re-posted.
The bug hunter’s teacher asked the kids to write a favorite Christmas memory or tradition so she could put them on the bulletin board outside the classroom. When all the paperwork came home in the Friday folder, his memory was tucked in amongst the tests and daily work. Now, I would have thought that the first thing he would have put down would have been the tradition of the elf, Cheewee. He’s had a lot of fun with that silly elf and looks forward to finding him every morning. From snow angels made in sugar to bringing gingerbread house kits each year, Cheewee always provides an ample supply of holiday joy.
Or, I thought that going to see Santa would rate a mention. We usually go to the Marietta Square and visit Santa in his workshop. This year, however, Santa was front and center at The Lighthouse Christmas party, so the bug hunter got to sit on the jolly old man’s lap without having to wait outside in the cold.
Or even, I thought, he would choose the white ceramic Christmas tree that was given to us many years ago by Weezie (his grandmother on his dad’s side). He loves that tree and nearly drove me crazy when he was little, removing all the colored lights and leaving them in a pile by the tree. Cheewee did get him back this year by doing the same; bug hunter had BUG eyes when he realized what that crazy elf had done!
Another thing that I thought would rate a mention was the making of the gingerbread house, something we’ve done each year. Well, one year it was actually a train, and one year we made it with graham crackers. Last year, we used the gingerbread house kit that Cheewee brought, AND we made a gingerbread Nativity, too. Won’t do that again; there’s just something not right about biting the head off of Baby Jesus. Anyway, the boy did most of the decorating on the house that Cheewee brought this year, and I would not have been surprised for that to be a favorite tradition.
So what WAS his favorite tradition/memory? Riding around the week before Christmas looking at Christmas lights? Nope. Making (and eating) Christmas cookies? Nada. Wearing ugly Christmas sweaters? Nary a mention. No, it was something totally off the radar for me, and so I’m thankful that his teacher actually asked him to write it down, or I would have never known. His favorite thing? “Snuggling up in the Christmas quilt that my mom puts on my bed each year.” What? I never knew, and quite honestly, I almost left the quilt in the storage box this year. I got it when bug hunter was three, to complete the Christmas train theme in his room. And those red and green trains that were so cute for a preschooler seem, well, childish for a nearly-nine year old. And yet, I think I understand WHY it’s a favorite thing. When the bug hunter wraps himself in his Christmas quilt each night, he isn’t just covered by red and green trains. He’s surrounded by ALL of those memories and traditions that we’ve created together over the years. All of the joy and laughter and love are all around him, and as he dreams, he’s weaving all of the new memories into the fabric for years to come. I’ve realized something else, as well. When the time comes to put away all of those traditions; when he no longer can hear the bells on Santa’s sleigh, it will be ME who snuggles under that quilt, cherishing our memories. And, I pray that one day, a little bug hunter junior will be wrapped in that quilt while his daddy tells him about a mischievous elf named Cheewee who’ll be hiding somewhere in their house. And then, that daddy will turn on the white ceramic Christmas tree, and his little bug boy will fall asleep to the soft glow of Christmas lights, just like his daddy did so many years ago.