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Oh, the Joy of Christmas Morning!

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Oh, the joy of Christmas morning! - waking up in a chilly room with the radiators hissing, the scent of a turkey already in the oven competing with the smell of the steam heat.

Usually it was Diane’s younger sister, Elaine, getting on her bathrobe and slippers, who woke her up. Once her feet hit the cold floor of the linoleum she couldn’t wait to get downstairs quick, since it was usually warmer. The fact that there were presents waiting to be opened really sped her along. Diane and her sister knew the rules by heart, no opening of presents until breakfast was eaten and they were washed and dressed. Would grandma like the dusting powder Diane bought her, would grandpa like his handkerchiefs?
 
When Diane was a little girl of five years old, on a sunny day in 1954, her mother packed up three kids, two girls and one boy, aged five, three, and one, and left their father and moved in with their grandparents. A year later or so later Diane’s mother made the decision to go and start a second family, so Diane and her sister stayed and lived with their grandparents.  Diane remembers that when she was eight years old her little brother, Richy who was six years old, was given back to their father and was raised by him and a stepmother.

Love … she didn’t recognize it, she only knew that she had a bath every Saturday night, food to eat, new clothes, and shoes for the start of school.

Then came Christmas. Christmas was magical and oh so special. Diane felt that no matter how much punishment she got during the year, Santa Claus knew that deep down she was a good girl. Diane could count on him to see her as she truly was, couldn’t she? He never failed her! Every Christmas was a fairy tale. Who can forget their first bicycle? Your first sled?
 
When Diane got married, she and her husband bought the house she was raised in. They built an addition onto their house for Diane’s grandparents. On Christmas morning in 1975 Diane had a beautiful baby girl, what a Christmas present that was! They then went on to have two other children, both boys. 

So Diane’s children grew up with a great grandma right next door. The fact that she was older did not stop her from “helping” Diane to raise her own children. The welfare of her great grandchildren was top priority. As the children grew, they had to learn to deal with the old-fashioned ways of their great grandma. They gained the knowledge that grandma was someone who would always be there for them. Diane already knew that grandma was someone who was there for her. As the years went along, the children learned love, patience, and sensitivity toward older people. They too made lists for Santa. The magic of Christmas spanned generations. The spirit of Christmas was always present. 

As Diane’s grandmother got very old, Diane was the adult and her grandmother was the one who needed to be taken care of. Diane knew she was loved for being there for her grandmother. Just spending time with her was the best way Diane could think of to honor her grandmother. Sometimes she would just sit with her and hold her hand. At the end, Diane could see the look of thanks in her grandmother’s eyes. Yet when she did die, all Diane could think of was she would give anything for just one more day with her grandma. Diane’s grandmother lived to be 101 years old.

 Looking back, Diane realized that what she was given was not to be measured in the amounts of toys and games she received for Christmas, and what she gave was not measured in dusting powder, embroidered handkerchiefs, and handmade clay ashtrays, that she gave for Christmas. It was love. Oh the joy of Christmas morning!

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