Professional mom seeking clarity, balance and a well deserved glass of wine.
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Isn’t it funny how certain songs or smells bring back a memory so lightening fast, it’s like you’re transported back in time. Associations so powerful, you can relive a moment that happened when you were small, so, like 40+ years ago (she said under her breath).
Now, why is it, that I can have these flashbacks so effortlessly due to music or baked goods, but I cannot remember (as hard as I try to squeeze it out) why I walked across the house and out into the garage. All systems GO. Synapses firing. And…..NOTHING. This is not helpful when the toilet is overflowing because Ivy thought it would be a good idea to wash and flush her doll clothes down the toilet, but by God I can relive Christmas 1970 “just like that.”
But I digress…back to the memories. I love Christmas music. Actually, some would call me a Christmas music whore. If there’s a Christmas CD to be had I must own it. I could listen to it all year long. The same song arranged fifty different ways to Sunday by a plethora of artists. And GO! Makes my creative partner crazy. (She’s threatening Wilson Phillips to come out with something other than “Hey Santa” before she has to sever her ear drums with an exacto knife) I do restrain myself during work hours and reserve the playing of holiday tunes to the month of December. After all, I am a giver!
I did realize though, how much Christmas music, traditions and smells bring back so many wonderful memories. It’s like an instant happy reunion in my head. Like, any time I hear Karen Carpenter I think of my dad. It’s like he’s there standing in front of me. (Which is odd because he died in 1988). He loved her singing and her harmony. I smile within a nano second of hearing her voice.
Bing Crosby takes me instantly back to every Christmas as a kid in Indiana and going to my grandparents house on Christmas Eve. My aunt would make Cherry Delight (my fave as a kid) and all us cousins would fight about who was older and in what order we should open presents. Then it would take an act of God to wrangle all eight of us kids (me and my sister and our 6 cousins) into an Olan Mills pose for the annual Christmas photo. My dad and Uncle would line up their tripods and experiment with whatever new lens they just bought. Pappaw would sit back in his chair and just giggle.
And then there’s my absolute favorite, Sing Along with Mitch Miller. Sitting there in our livingroom at night, with all the lights aglow, and putting that LP (that’s an album for those of you under the age of 30) on over and over. My sister and I would shake the presents trying to guess what was inside. One year I coerced her into opening up what turned out to be blow dryers, popped all the bubble wrap that entombed them, blow dried our hair and put them back; then pulling off, what I thought, was an academy award winning scene of surprise and delight. One of my most memorable Christmases was when Santa brought me a guitar. I knew the truth. Figured that out when I was 7, but I played along for my sister, who still believed. That was a magical Christmas. I felt grown up and important to have my own guitar. I thought I was Glenn Campbell. So, whenever I hear Mitch, it’s like I’m seven again and my sister is right beside me plotting what shenanigans she’ll get into next.
Pecan pie reminds me of grandma too. I hated it, but she thought it was heaven in a tin. Chocolate covered cherries make me gag, but they instantly remind me of my dads face when we pulled them out of his stocking and handed them over like they were a prize. He adored them. And just seeing a bottle of 7Up transports me immediately back in time to grandma’s too. (we spent alot of time there) She always had those and little Cokes for us too.
And as I was putting up our little vintage tinsel tree in the office this morning, it was like dad was there coaching me as I pulled out each branch and placed it just so. He was the master tree decorator in our house. I never understood why he was so particular about the tinsel, but after he “came out” when I was 13, that made so much more sense. 😉
He and my mom made Christmas so special. Little insignificant things they did turned into traditions that have stayed with me and my sister for a lifetime. I wasn’t feeling so “in the spirit” until now. Funny what memories can do!
Notice I didn’t mention the familiar sound of a wine cork popping out of a great Cabernet or the smell of Zin Ribeye chile on a cold Southern California night or Justin Bieber singing whatever it is he sings that’s supposed to be Christmasy…wait, those will be my kids memories!
What brings back memories for you?
Stay sane, my friends.