It seems my family is developing a mother lode of traditions. My sis has taken the reigns and suggesting (over and over again) that when we gather that we all write some sort of Fitz memory.
She came up with a brilliant idea years ago while at the Lake House that each of us write an essay on why it is Fabulous to be a Fitz. After that, it was ON.
Around Christmas the theme usually includes holiday memories but it open for anything. My BIL brought in his family tree that has recently been researched by one of his BIL's. It was a fantastic spread of faceless names. "I know three of them" he commented as he unrolled the huge document. the bottom line was how we touch each other and how far our reach extends with out our being aware.
My essay (which I left in Memphis and I had to reprise from memory) went like this....
A friend of my on Facebook asked us to share our best Christmas memories. He went first and described how all he wanted was a pair of Beatle Boots and was told, by his Mom, that they were too expensive. It was all he wanted, all he thought about. And, like all great Christmas stories, on Christmas morning after all the presents were opened his mother directed him, just like Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB Gun, to a special package hidden behind the tree. That was the best Christmas ever for him, the year he got his Beatle Boots!
I tried to think back and remember a time when I received the best gift ever! When, on some bright Christmas morning when the day was brilliant with snow and cheer, I found the gift I had been hoping for all season! Was it that Chatty Cathy doll? Was it the Beatle album?....Was it the Frye Boots that were out of this world expensive? Bicycles being test ridden in the snow ruts? Was it....was it.....? What was it?
I closed my eyes and tried to rewind time and think back to when I was young enough to believe in Santa and gifts arriving in magical sleighs. How old would I have been? Eight? Nine? Six?
I remembered the Christmas day when my parents invited the young women from South America to share our Christmas day. They were students at the Women's College in the area and unable to return home for the holidays. My parents opened up our home to them and celebrated the birth of Christ with total strangers!
I think I was around seven or eight. I remember the pictures of me that day. Gazing up at the glamorous women, a doll clutched tightly to my chest, in a maroon dress with a matching cloth head band.
I also remember my mother inviting girls from my small grammar school, girls I never would have considered close friends! She invited them into our kitchen to help us make Christmas cookies!
Many years later it is not the Christmas gifts that I recall with vivid clarity.
It is my Mother's generosity and the true spirit of Christmas she held and displayed by example no matter what the holiday. No matter what the season.
And this is the gift she passed on to all her children.