Saturday, December 8, 2012

Favorite Christmas Memory

Hello friends,

This is post 4 of my 12 blogs of Christmas.  The card above is one of the cards we'll be making later this month for a transition house for ladies.

So on to my post. In my Tuesday Evening Bible study group we shared our favorite Christmas memory as part of an introduction to our study 'The purpose of Christmas' by Rick Warren.  I shared with my group a childhood memory but as I was driving home I was thinking of other memories and decided to share one of my other favorite Christmas memories here on the blog.

It was Christmas of 1992.  Bob, Sarah and I had settled nicely into southern New Hampshire the year before and we were trying (for a long while) to get pregnant again, but as of Christmas that year, no news from the stork.  We had a sweet little house - little is the key word here and life was hectic but good.   I was working full-time as a customer service rep at Unitrode, Sarah was enrolled at Tollhouse Pre-school and Bob was working as an engineer at Unitrode doing a fair amount of international travel.  None of that has anything to do with my Christmas memory, but I figured I'd take a short walk down memory lane.

Someone Bob worked with had a side business of woodworking and made child-sized rocking horses.  We commissioned him to make one for Sarah in purple.   Sarah was a huge pony fan and loved everything horses.  She had a pretty good size collection of  'my little ponies' and would prance around the house on all fours most days.  She was 3 1/2 and adorable.  She had fine wispy hair that often had a slight curl or wave to it.  She was dainty, with beautiful brown eyes, long fingers and a sweet little smile.

Now Sarah was a darling child, with a generally sweet spirit.  But she totally had an independent streak.  How do I explain it... .well, let's just say that Sarah sometimes got some ideas in her head and once she got that idea in her head it was hard to turn her around.  Bob and I were first time parents.  Not only were we first time parents, but we were stubborn and independent first time parents without family living in the immediate vicinity.  Why do I tell you this?  Well, we pretty much tried to figure all the parenting stuff out on our own.  We didn't have a church family and the nearest family was 3 hours away.  So we did what the parenting experts that wrote books said and muddled through various parenting challenges.  My family teases me that Sarah spent her entire childhood in time-out.  Lucky for Sarah, Dr. T. Berry Brazelton was the child rearing expert of choice in the early 90's and his solution to all misbehavior was time-out.

Sarah learned quickly how to thrive survive in timeout.  She often had hand made dresses or jumpers with deep pockets that held a toy or cheerios, so her time in timeout was pretty nice.
But that doesn't really have anything to do with my Christmas memory either, just again more background on the lovely child that Sarah was.

So, Christmas morning 1992 arrived and Sarah slept in.  Bob and I woke first and headed down (quietly) to the kitchen to get the coffee going and a jump start on the newspaper  Our sweet little house had a front door that opened directly into the living room and the stairs leading upstairs was right in front of the door.  You would walk down the stairs, through the living room, round the corner and take the short hall to the kitchen on the right.  Our tree was in the living room in front of the stairs.   Santa had come the night before and filled the stockings and left toys and gifts under the tree.

As I recall we we sitting at our kitchen table and didn't hear Sarah come down the stairs.  We were both startled to see young Sarah standing in the hallway, with her hands on her hips.  She  hollered, in a quite annoyed voice, 'who opened my Christmas presents?'  We didn't quite know how to react.  Now, realize that in our house when Santa brings large gifts he puts a big bow on top and leaves them under the tree.  Slowly it dawned on me that Sarah must have thought that we got up before her, opened the wrapped rocking horse and maybe she thought we took turns riding on it. We start the process of logically explaining Santa's habits to her, but trust me when I say she was quite skeptical.  It took a lot of words to convince Sarah that we did not unwrap her gift (where is the wrapping paper? - how could Santa have wrapped that huge gift? - and what about the bow?)   Then we tried to stifle the giggles.  I mean what 3 1/2 year old kid sees the stockings and presents under the tree and doesn't squeel with delight and want to dive into them?  What 3 1/2 year old kid confronts her parents about basically stealing her toy???  Well, that is our sweet Sarah.

And it is a story we laugh about to this day... the year that Mom and Dad opened Sarah's Christmas presents while she slept.....  Oh and in case you don't know 'the rest of the story..'  The stork did arrive that winter with happy news.  Eric arrived that next September and Sarah... well somehow she survived her stubborn spirit and our clueless parenting.  She is a lovely young lady teaching English in Ukraine and I can't wait to see her in a few weeks when she comes home (for the first time since leaving in Sept 2011.)

We love you very much Sarah.  You are a sweet and unique creation!!!

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Luke 18:14-18


Sarah Kate Monroe said...

Mom this was a very sweet post to read, I love remembering Christmas memories :) Even though you may have felt clueless raising me, you are such wonderful people that you couldn't have messed up too badly. I feel extraordinarily lucky to have you and Dad as my parents, and I think you did a great job raising Eric and I. I can only wish and pray that I can be the kind of mother you are and have been to me <3 I love you so much! I am practically shivering with excitement to see you and everyone else in just a week and a half!

Karen said...

What a fun memory! Loved reading your post and all your little bits of back story. Sarah's right: you may have felt clueless, but you've raised two beautiful - inside and out - and talented children. You are a wise and loving mentor to me in my throes of single-parenting three teens.

Wishing you much happiness during the Christmas season. Enjoy lots of time with your fledglings and I hope they bring lots of joy and laughter into your nest.

Kimberly Gajewski said...

I am grinning ear to ear! What a sweet story about Miss Sarah! Knowing your family, I know for certain that you and Bob figured things out about being amazing parents because you raised amazing children! :D