I love the holiday season. For some, it begins when the Christmas tree goes up. For others, it begins when the first Advent candle or the first candle in the Menorah is lighted. For me, it begins on the night that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer airs on CBS – because it’s not Christmas until I hear Burl Ives sing Silver and Gold and Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!
We have always celebrated Christmas with Mom and Dad and my brother and his family on “Christmas Eve Eve” – it’s a tradition that started when Blake and I were very young. Dad’s side of the family had Christmas Eve, Mom’s side of the family had Christmas Day, so Christmas Eve Eve was just for us. We spent the evening together, decorated Christmas cookies, and each of us got to open one gift. While the evening’s activities have changed a little over the years, the Christmas Eve Eve tradition lives on.
And so does The Picture. I don’t remember why it started – I suspect that Dad wanted the same view each year to watch the boys grow up. I did the same with Ryan on the first day of school each year. So the first thing we do each year on Christmas Eve Eve is take the picture.
In 1995, my parents sold their house and moved into the condo where they live now when they’re in Ohio. So though the outfits (and some of the heights) change, the setting remains the same . . .
1995 and 1998 – you’ll notice that the positioning changes a bit over the years, depending on how tall the boys are.
2002 and 2004 – didn’t take Ryan long to grow taller than all of us.
2006 and 2009 – Tyler finally passes Conner on the growth scale. We have reached the point where one or more of the boys have to come straight from work.
Which brings us to last night. Most of you know that this year, especially the past four months, has been very different in our family. So two nights ago, Dad called and asked that each of us bring along one extra item for this year’s picture . . .
And I love it!
I called this morning to make sure we hadn’t worn Mom out. Found out that she got up at 5:00 this morning to read through another batch of your cards and e-mails that I brought last night. Dad came into the living room a little before 6:00 and found her in tears – she has been so overwhelmed by all of your tender support. And I am so grateful to each of you who have taken the time to lift up prayers, send cards, and write e-mails for a very special lady. They have made a difference.
Thanks – and Merry Christmas!