The Christmas Of My Past: Cherished Memories
One of the most cherished memories I have of Christmas past is the one with all of my family back home in Brownsville, Texas. This was a very special Christmas for me because both of my grandparents were still with us, and all of my siblings and I were still in the house. At the time, I did not realize just how beautiful that Christmas and so many that came before were. My grandmother, Consuelo, always made it special with her delicious cooking and the preparation of the delicious tamales we would be able to enjoy just in time for Christmas. Her hard work and dedication in her preparation was something to admire. She worked tirelessly in the kitchen to prepare them, along with my mother, Catarina. Meanwhile, my grandfather enjoyed getting the gifts ready for all of us. It was the one time a year my grandfather would let his guard down and enjoyed smiling from ear to ear. We didn’t grow up with too much money, but at the time we were just grateful for the food on the table and being able to spend time all together. Another amazing part of our Christmas was going to Midnight Mass. I always enjoyed going with my grandmother, my mother, my sister, Francis, my godmother, Celedina, who is like my second mother, and my best friend, Eloisa, who will always be my sister.
We always made time for Mass, and we enjoyed listening to all of the beautiful Christmas songs and hymns in both English and Spanish. I loved when we got to participate in the songs or readings.
My grandmother always got teary-eyed as the Christmas songs began. This is something I got from her. It was always enjoyable to spend our time at Mass. Once we were done, we would walk home because our church was so close to the house. But first, we would meet with our fellow parishioners and wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Then we would walk home and get to open one gift before the morning came, but the best treat was having my dad, Ramon, come by and play his guitar and sing into the wee hours of the morning.
One of the main elements of our Christmas was being together and making time for one another. Sadly, we got older and then we lost my dad in 2005 to cancer. My grandparents also passed back in 2008 and 2012, and then my best friend and sister this past year, 2017. We all grew apart when we all moved away. We don’t get to see each other, and some of us do not talk. I realized how much I missed those times. It is for this reason that at Christmas time I cherish all the beautiful memories with my husband, Jeremy, our three kids, and my in-laws. I try to make each memory precious, and I remind my kids that Christmas is not about the gifts we receive, which we do, but that is not what it is about. For me, it is about family, and each year I think back to the Christmas of my past and remember it fondly and with so much love.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2018 to all!