Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Gifts

I love Christmas morning. As a child, my brother and I would be so eager that we would scamper down to wake our parents long before dawn. Our parents eventually set rules: we could not wake them before a given hour. When J.B. became a teenager, it was soon my parents and I waiting for him to wake up.

My dad has a favorite Christmas…decoration? It’s called Santa’s Marching Bell Band. Elves are dressed in Marching Band uniforms. The elves and Santa have turn left and right to strike little bells and play Christmas songs, loudly. In the old house, the Bell Band was relegated to the porch because it was so loud.

Anyway, one year Dad thought it would be funny to wake J.B. using the Bell Band. Hee. Dad has a thing for practical jokes like that. Anyway, he plugged it in, then climbed the stairs and flipped the switch. “DUM-DUH-DAH-DUM, DUM-DUH-DAAHH-DUM!” The door to J.B.’s room opened and he didn’t come out singing “Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-laaaa!” Instead, he trudged by us, grumbling, “If I’d have had a baseball bat…” Heh.

This year it was just Mom and Dad and I. We emptied our stockings and opened our presents. Mom shocked Dad by giving her something she’d really wanted: a telescope! I look forward to using it next time I’m home. We chilled most of the day, watching holiday specials and The Dog Whisperer. Cesar Milan is so awesome.

Then we went to meet Grandma and Grandpa Staker at the airport. They weren’t in the greatest mood, as travel is stressful for them these days. Grandpa needs oxygen. This time instead of a tank, he now has a concentrator which pulls oxygen for him from the air. Nonetheless, hauling the concentrator around wasn’t fun and Grandpa needed a wheelchair.

When they told me this was probably their last Christmas in Iowa, I wanted to cry, but I reminded myself to count my blessings. They’re here now. We love each other. That’s what matters. Those are the gifts. Merry Christmas.

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