My mom, Nancy, is posting a different Christmas memory for 12 days. She gave me her blessing to repost them here. It’s amazing how a life story can be told through the lens of a certain day.
Third Christmas Day Memory – the Silent Christmas.
One Christmas just before I turned 9 we got up early to deliver the newspapers (the paper route was handed down from one brother to the next and sometimes we all helped), attended early Christmas Mass, had breakfast, and settled in to look through stockings and open gifts.
That Christmas season my scout troop had adopted a family; gathering food and toys and even stringing popcorn on a tree to deliver to a needy family on Christmas Eve. We sang a carol or two as we arrived at the house. I will always remember how bare their little home looked and how sad I felt for the little children looking at us like we were actual magical Christmas Elves.
Now, here our family was enjoying our own Christmas morning when the phone rang. My mother’s mother, our Grandma Goddard, had passed away while actually in the middle of opening her gifts at her home in San Mateo. Visiting the Goddards had always been like visiting Disneyland for me. Grandma always had root beer waiting for us after our long drive from Oregon; she allowed us to sit up in her apricot tree and eat all the apricots we wanted; and Granddad even had a gas powered go kart he had hand built and let the big kids drive.
The rest of the day seemed quiet, very quiet.
At some time during the late afternoon, my father drove us to the airport to send my mother to San Francisco to be with her father and her brothers. I think that was the first time my mother had ever flown in an airplane.
We had seen my father off many times, but this was the first time to go outside on the flight deck and wave goodbye to my mother; watching her plane take off as it got dark on that Christmas night. I think of that sometimes when we sing Silent Night Holy Night.
As we gather our family around this Christmas I will be reminded of how special it is to have so many family members nearby and how lucky we are to have so much.