Rising early to prepare the turkey for Christmas dinner, I did not expect to see family members awake at the early hour of five o’clock in the morning. Nearing the edge of our second floor landing, the scene was one of those delightful family moments I have come to cherish over the past 17 years. Our five year old son was teaching his roly-poly “Grandmommy” the finer points of rescuing the princess from the castle with the assistance of Mario and Luigi. The gifts under the tree would have to wait. Climbing ladders, forging force fields, collecting stars and bouncing to the constant melody of the Nintendo game had captivated two very willing souls.
Grandmommy was a bit older than the usual grandmother of a kindergartener. She’d had me very late in life and my husband and I had waited a few years to have our son. Living in different parts of the country, we were challenged with making connections via telephone calls and the mail. At best, visits occurred three times a year. Computers, Web cams and Skype had not become a part of everyday life at the time of this event.
As a young boy, JJ was interested in the world of X-Men, Batman and “Where the Wild Things Are.” Grandmommy was quite prim and proper and thought he was adorable. She was sure he would look like such a little man in the newest suit she would give him. Yes, each and every holiday brought a lovely package with a new suit, dress shirt and clip-on bow tie. Our son did a very good job of acting sincerely surprised and pleased upon opening the thrice-annual gifts (Easter, Birthday, Christmas). Needless to say, they were in quite different worlds.
Finding them together before the crack of dawn that special Christmas morning was truly a sight to bring heart-warming joy to the soul. With each bump of the cartoon characters, stars exploding in the sky, or jumping of the monkeys, Grandmommy’s entire body would jump, wiggle, giggle and slide as she helped the characters through the various mazes or dungeons-of-doom. Our son, JJ, remained steadfastly serious and somber teaching her the intricacies of the Mario Brothers, proper use of the control pad and reaching each new level to conquer.
Cherishing family seems to be a forgotten art to many these days. Spending time together without the distractions of everyday hustles and bustles are becoming increasingly rare. The time we have with those dear to us is central to our family’s Christmas celebration each year. Church services are important; shopping is fun, but the heart of our Christmas traditions center on remembering our past celebrations and enjoying the present together. This one particular Christmas morning is recalled each year with special tenderness and love. Grandmommy is no longer with us and neither is the Nintendo set. But remembering the love shared between a roly-poly grandmother and her ever-so-technically advanced grandson in the wee hours one special Christmas will always remain.