I would say that I have led a very blessed life. I got to know three of my great grand parents, all of my grandparents (one lived until I was in my 40s). My parents were great and they are still both alive and healthy and have been married for nearly 54 years.
My daughter is a shining example of the kind of child a parent wants to have. She's smart, driven, hard working and currently growing a tiny little human I will get to spoil and love beyond words. My step sons are really good people too. And I love both of them dearly.
My brother is amazing. He's been the best uncle to my daughter and he loves animals and has a good heart. I know he'd do anything I asked of him. My in laws are fantastic and welcomed me into the family like I'd always been a part of their lives and love me as much as they love my Donald.
My happy Christmas memories are many... from remembering my first childhood bicycle to hours and hours of family and friends playing Monopoly (who knew I'd love real estate so much as an adult) when I was buying all those properties and putting houses and hotels on them? The beginning of the tradition of my Christmas letter from Donald is also a very treasured memory as is each and every letter. This year will be my 18th Christmas letter.
But in the end the favorite Christmas memory among the vast amount of ones I have is a little on the selfish side because it's a me moment. In January of 2014 my family had a fire and Christmas went up in flames. Our house was saved, but our storage building was lost and Christmas was tidy and boxed up. Half a century of Christmas was boxed up. Ornaments and beads that had been on EVERY single tree I'd ever had.
It was an accidental fire and my heart had no anger about it, but it was filled with profound and heavy sadness. As I dealt with insurance and replacing items I would find myself taking a little me cry time daily for months on end. I was still functioning and doing all the things I needed to do, and one day in May I hoped a curio cabinet to add something that had been a gift and I picked up a cup and there inside it in my curio cabinet was the strand of beads... the ones that had been on ALL my trees.
Year after year as my mom had strung those beads on the tree she would tell the story of my first Christmas. My dad was in the Navy and we were far from family and money was slim and the tree was sparse. So my daddy took a necklace of plastic red beads (they look a little like red hots) that was a ten strand necklace and took it apart and tied the ends together. That became the "garland" on my first Christmas tree in 1965. And when I left home in 1984 my mom had given them to me, and they had been on every tree.
That day in May when I opened my curio cabinet and found them might have been in spring, but it was my Christmas miracle and it's a wonderful warm memory.