As we go along, I'm surprised by the things that my boys keep as 'special' about
*Now by 'the Holidays', I mean the Big Three - Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.*
And, as you might guess, it's not the things we intentionally set out to make memorable.
Seems like, it's the incidentals that make the "I love it when ..." list.
I have a list like that, and you probably do too.
I was recalling to my mom last night,
"Remember when you used to make a pan of fudge when something really special was happening? I remember peeking in the fridge to see if it was cool yet, being so excited waiting for that fudge!"
She was silent for just a second, then she said, "Did I do that?"
The oddest things get caught and stick on the lint screen of our memories.
Here's some of mine:
- At holiday time, there used to always be a bowl of nuts with metal nutcrackers and picks on the table.
- Shopping in downtown Cincinnati was a big event. Entering the thickly perfumed atmosphere of the department stores at street level (perfume, gloves, purses...) was almost as wonderful as going up and up those narrow Shillito's escalators. The anticipation of going to a new floor and the gripping dread of getting caught in those ever-opening and closing stairs. I vaguely remember that Santa was there on the toy floor, but don't remember sitting on his lap. And the beautiful fruity embellishments on the Gidding-Jenny building! No wonder I was always tripping along - - - I was usually gawking up!
- Dad used to pop popcorn in a great big pan, then salt and butter it just for us.
- Mom would snip and sew a special dress for me to wear on Christmas Sunday. I didn't get to see it until she was finished with it, and that moment seemed like a great unveiling TAH-DA! I was always filled with a sort of awed pride that she could make something so beautiful with her own hands.
Pondering this list myself, I see that every one of these is a memory of a moment when there was joy, or excitement - events that only happened once a year and which were accompanied by wide, shared grins or lovingly clasped hands. I wouldn't be surprised if my parents don't even recall many of these things, or that they would probably consider them to have been only incidentals.
And that's what I try to remember with my own sons. We can be intentional in creating Holiday memories and traditions, and we've certainly thrown our best efforts into the ring. But what they'll probably take away on their Most Loved List will be Joyful Incidentals. It's all in the Lord's hand as He builds the reminiscences He will use in their lives, letting what's un-useful pass out of memory and causing what He considers to be the profitable bits to catch.
I'm glad that I can trust Him with that, too.