This Christmas Means to Me…

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Something had been eating at me as we lived out of boxes and suitcases and from house to house in the 6 weeks between the sale of our home and purchase of our new one.

I really wanted to get Christmas started, but I didn’t know why.

You’d think that it would be next year, with getting to watch on wonder as four ‘lil Burghers gather by the tree and squeal in delight.  But that wasn’t it.

It wasn’t until I was around a table with some aunts and cousins, talking about Grandma’s tree star that I really got it.

I wanted to get Christmas started for Grandma. There are a zillion reasons why…

She always decorated her home with gingerbread people graced with each of our names. My mom tended to make her sweatshirts with all of us on it, too. (One year someone fell off and got crushed in our van door and I lost my mind because that’s just horrible to watch a cousin’s apple get crushed.)

She always wrote us cards, individual cards, with a sentiment…sometimes a “Love you” and sometimes more. Grandma had a lot of cards to write.

She always gave us ornaments for our tree, and last year they were accompanied by the note above. If you’ve received an ornament from me this year, it’s because of Grandma. Our kids will have a collection to start their trees with because I plan on adding to their yearly collections, too.

And, finally, because without Christmas with Grandma, I really am not sure I’d have what I do today. Grandma and Pappy welcomed us to their home every December, often on Christmas Day after 12 to 20 hours of driving through snow to the beach because it was 6 days my Dad usually could fairly safely take off before the new year. We would spend those days in Surfside with a walk or two on the beach, driving the Boulevard to see lights (hotels used to do that), and enjoying a warm Christmas week together. During these days, I fell in love with the Myrtle Beach many of you may not know…the local side of it. It gave me courage to spread my wings and eventually move there and close a chapter of my life and start a new one with Arianna and Greg.

And because this year, for the first time in a long time I will not get to go for winter in SC or get to enjoy moments with Grandma, I think I really wanted to get Christmas started early and let it last.

As we hung the ornaments, I cried a little. It’s easy to forget the little things until you realize you won’t have them again (at least not in the same way as before). And this year, the little things came in the form of four glittery ornaments in envelopes that we got for the last time last Christmas. But it prompted me to pick up some for us this year, as well as a chirping cardinal to remind me of my Grandma Peterson. Because even if in the moment you don’t realize what it is, someday you will. And it will be bittersweet, like this Christmas will be for me.

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