Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Twas the night before

I was awake until 3 o'clock in the morning on Christmas Eve. The rest of my parents' house went to bed around 1. I had intended to do the same, to tuck myself in on the couch and catch a few hours of sleep before the dog woke up and resumed shoving her tennis ball in my face. I curled up on the couch, but I couldn't bring myself to unplug the Christmas tree lights.

My parents got a little tree this year, a two and half foot plastic thing they could sit on the cedar chest. Right now, Logyn puts everything she finds into her mouth. My mom decided that she didn't want to spend the holiday season heimliching Christmas ornaments out of her throat, so she and my dad went out after Thanksgiving and found a tree that could be kept out of reach.

The little thing looked sort of pathetic in the daylight, like something stolen from a nursing home resident's bedside table. But, in the middle of the night, with all the other lights turned off and my glasses lost somewhere underneath the couch, it was lovely. As I sat there, curled up underneath a throw blanket, I listened to Frank Sinatra sing Christmas songs, and I thought of my Grandma Betty. Frank sang in her kitchen from an old clock radio on top of her cupboard. There, he sang year round, over the soft fall of the little plastic numbers rotating in her clock and the sandy rub of her hands working flour into her rolling pin.

I remember what it was like for me to spend Christmas Eve at her house. It was my favorite part of the whole season, better than Christmas morning even. But this year, as I stared at that lovely little tree and listened to her music, I wondered what it was like for her. I wondered if she sat by her tree after everyone else had gone to bed and listened to Frank Sinatra sing Silver Bells. And, as anything seems possible in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, I let myself believe that maybe she was sitting on the other end of the couch listening with me now.

The album ended with Silent Night. I unplugged the lights and closed my teary eyes. For the first time since she died, I felt like I had just spent Christmas Eve with my Grandma Betty.

9 comments:

☆Susan☆ said...

I have a grandma Betty too...except I called her Memaw. I'd give anything to have one more Christmas with her. Thanks for sharing such a special memory.

gitz said...

*sigh*

That's how that story made me feel, like a little sigh of relief that heaven exists and memories live on.

I love when you write like this, T. You transport me so quickly to another place and time.

Have a beautiful new year...

MmeBenaut said...

Yes, Gitz is right, Terroni. You write beautifully and this was a story that needed telling. Grandmothers are so important to little girls and I have fond memories of my own grandmother, although I can't find one of a Christmas eve. I only remember one Christmas eve although I can remember a few Christmas Days with her. There's no doubt that we carry those memories with us always and in that sense, our grandmothers never really leave us. I'd like to have given you a big hug both on that couch and when you were writing this.
On a cheery note, it's New Year's Day here and you are hopefully sleeping off some of last eve's celebrations so when you wake up, Happy New Year little one. We're expecting great things from you this year.

dive said...

Dammit, T; you've melted me into a sappy pool of mush.

Happy New Year!

robinrane said...

found you today on Gitz's comments and you're right, the quote reminds me of her...
this was beautiful...made me think, not of my Gramma but of my mom...her name was, well I suppose it still is, Betty Jean.
Your memory is sacred, thank you for sharing...

jenny said...

gulp....snifff.....now look what you've done!

Oh and I got your migraine, its a thumper.

citizen of the world said...

That's really lovely. I also think about relatives I've lost around holidays.

Ms. Avarice said...

That's totally sweet! My grandma betty's still hanging around and she's still as ornery as ever. I'm glad you got to spend some time in her presence.

Maria said...

Well, shit. Have a golf ball in my throat now.