Today I woke up in an empty house. No pitter-patter of little children. No cries to open presents.
It’s been a long time since that has happened. My children are adults living their lives. Neither one was home with me this Christmas Eve and I woke up alone Christmas Day with only the fur babies for company.
Getting up at five this morning, I brewed an entire, very dark pot of coffee. I decided to work on my novel and drink the pot.
As I worked through the memories of my novel, I thought back to the Christmases I spent with my brother as a kid.
I remember us waking up in our pajamas and coming out of our rooms and looking at the wonder of the Christmas tree. Our Christmas tree was magical. My mom loved tinsel. It wasn’t applied heavily. We had instructions for putting strands on. In the morning it twinkled with the lights.
There were more packages now that Santa had come. We would go wake up our mom with the excitement and anticipation of opening our gifts.
I remember the year Tom got the Millenium Falcon. I got a wooden toolbox with working tools. I also got a music box that had red velvet lining with a dancing ballerina that played the Blue Danube Waltz when you opened it.
After all the presents were opened, my mom would take us to the International House of Pancakes, before it became IHOP. It was a special treat we looked forward to every year. I don’t know how she afforded it. But we went every year.
We would take a new toy with us to play with and hop in the Bug and drive across town to the restaurant. We would eat pancakes. My mom would always order a pancake with an over-easy egg on top of her pancake. I thought it was gross then, and I still think it is gross. It’s probably my aversion to mixing foods. My mom loved it.
We were poor but we had just enough. My mom made sure we were taken care of. My childhood was full of joy and wonder.
I passed that on to my kids, I hope. I hope they had a good childhood at Christmas.
It was strange to be alone at Christmas. It was just another day with a computer and coffee. But the memories of my mom and brother were tucked close to my heart and gave me a desire to eat pancakes.