Once upon a Christmas….

“For you’re a jolly good fellow,
For you’re a jolly good fellow,
For you’re a jolly good fellow,
Which nobody can deny.

Which nobody can deny.
Which nobody can deny.
For you’re a jolly good fellow,
For you’re a jolly good fellow,
For you’re a jolly good fellow,
Which nobody can deny.”


Standing just to the side of my parents – I felt dizzy as the blur of faces moved in a circle around us. Somehow in my 8 year old mind I new that something was changing and somehow my life would never be the same again…

Earlier in the day I had stood with my grandmother in her kitchen as she rolled out a fragrant dough on her kitchen counter – “they are for the doughnuts Baverly that I am making for the party tonight”…. but something just didn’t feel right and although I don’t remember my grandmother saying any more – her face at that moment – I don’t think I will ever forget – she looked so sad. This did not feel like a party!

As I look back on those early days of my childhood, I have very few concrete memories – just flashes in my mind of pictures – as if flipping through a photo album on high speed. But somewhere in those first 8 years of my life, I was touched to the core of my very being. Something in those first 8 years created the mold of the person I am today. (I know that the years that followed helped to fill the mold – but there was something in those very early years that touched me deeply – and which over the years my mind keeps going back for…as if searching for that one special moment, that one special word, that one special touch….)

Digging deep into the reality of my today I know that I still search and somehow it is all connected to the reason that I am so adamant about creating memories for my children….and the funny thing about creating these memories is that they are not planned… they are just moments that happen, and one thing rolls into another, almost without a conscious thought from me, and before I can blink the moment is over and the memory created.

Perhaps my search really is not for that one special moment, word or touch but a feeling that I had in one of those days, of the early years of my childhood. A feeling that I had in those first years of my life that I keep searching for, keep trying to recreate…

This feeling that I keep searching for… trying to touch… trying to understand, even perhaps with that 8 year olds mind… the closest I ever come to it is at Christmas time.

For as long as I can remember Christmas has been my favorite holiday – but not for the presents, food or even the people that are around, but the feeling that starts to come to light from somewhere deep inside – to the point where I can almost identify it – and then as quick as it comes… it almost disappears – just standing there on the edge of my being seemingly to taunt… catch me if you can.

The odd thing about this is that I really don’t remember to much about Christmas from my childhood. I know we had a tree, had a big dinner, spent the time with family and friends… but try as I might there is no one thing that stands out in my mind that would make this holiday so close to my heart.

In many ways I suppose I have captured this feeling… or at least partial and have given it as if a gift to each of my children, for if you ask any one of them what is your favorite holiday, they will each without hesitation say ‘Christmas!’

My grandmother is much the same as this feeling – perhaps in the mind of that 8 year old little girl they are one and the same. Most everyone I know, knows that my grandmother is very dear to my heart – she is somehow even to this day, even though she has long since passed, woven into the core of my being. She is the one person in this life that I strive to be like – but in today’s reality the one I know the least! I have my early childhood memories of her, but like I said they are not concrete memories, I have a few from when I was older and we would visit with her…. but after 8 years old I only seen her for about a week every few years or so.

She used to call me Baverly – taking the first ‘e’ in my name and turning it into a drawn out ‘a’ – so it sounded like Baa-verly – I don’t know if it was the way she meant to pronounce it, or if it just happened naturally with her Albertan accent – but she is the only one that did it and it sends chills through my being just to think of it, for her voice is so clear in my head.

I wonder now as I type this if perhaps that 8 year old little girl somehow pegged Christmas and her Grandmother as one and the same?

Soon after the above song was sung… that 8 year old little girl climbed into the back seat of her fathers new car… and the family left. We were moving – two provinces away (http://listingsca.com/maps.asp) from Alberta to Manitoba (if you look at the map we were living close to Calgary and were moving close to Churchill) – Now this by looking at the map is not really that far away – but for that 8 year old little girl it might just as of well been half the world away. I never seen my grandmother again after that night for 5 years, an eternity for a little girl – the little girl that still lives in me…

(I originally wrote the above in 2005 but feel it is worth repeating again.)

Published in: on November 27, 2007 at 7:28 am  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. We were the first generation to be pulled away from our grandparents. Our parents are just begining to understand what they have done.

  2. I understand your connection to your grandmother as i feel the same connection to my grandmother… it isnt something that they do or say it is just who they are…. Grandparents are special and wonderful and especialy to the same sex grand child…. how wonderful it must be to be a grama. and How sad it must have been to know that you were going to be moving so far away, but good for her to try and keep her chin up for you as a little girl.

    I also understand your need to ‘make memories’ i know that when the girls and i are doing something that i think is very special and worth remembering i say out loud that we are making a wonderful memory, I hope that by saying it out loud it gives us a reminder kind of like a book mark in the brain.

  3. Nice.

  4. lol.. my gramma called me shaaalllleeee.. funny how one remembers things like that.. memories is what it is all about.. and yea.. the new grandbaby will be a blessing.. just the worries that go along with it.. Miranda is just sooo young. Not even 19 and going to have two.. but she has our support and love.. she will be ok… thanks for the encouragement.. lol.. who would have thought that I would be a gramma twice over by the age of 31???????

  5. It must be wonderful to have that kind of feeling about your grandmother and your childhood. 🙂

    I used to think of Christmas as a magical time, but have become a little Scrooge-like in the past few years. Perhaps it’s time I tried to recapture some of that magic (especially now that I have a granddaughter to share it with!).

  6. i always say that Christmas is not a season, but a feeling…

  7. I love reading about people’s relationships with their grandparents. I did not grow up near mine. My grandmother (maternal) lived in Texas, on the gulf coast. I lived in northern California. She took the Greyhound to see us once a year. She still lives in Texas and was recently moved to a home. I haven’t seen her since 1995 and I doubt if I will see her alive again.

    My paternal grandmother was further away, in another world, in Mexico. Until she moved to Baja California, I had only ever seen her twice. I was about eleven or twelve when she moved. After that we saw her every couple of months. But she was a strange one. Instead of hugging us when she saw us, like we wanted to, she would shake our hands. She died years ago. I never got a hug from her.

  8. Thanks everyone for your kind comments and thoughts!

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