Images of prior Christmas mornings are on my mind today. For certain, the ones that stand out the most are the ones when my son was a little boy.
The first one that pops into my head is the year Sam was almost three. We were visiting my Mother in Calhoun, Georgia. Sam got a Big Wheel and went berserk when he saw it. His feet barely reached the pedals, but he rode that thing until I thought he was going to have to take it to bed with him at night. None of the other toys and games that he got came close to capturing his attention. This was the last non-gaming toy that ever received such a positive reaction.
The next one that stands out is a few years later when we visited my father and stepmother in Allentown, Pennsylvania. All of my siblings were there, along with my niece and nephew, who were 8 and 4 years older than Sam. Sam's cousin Chuck was very frustrated because Sam was beating him at Gameboy games, despite their four year age difference. Sam had received his first Gameboy on his 3rd birthday and Chuck had just received his first Gameboy for his birthday in November of that year. So Sam had been playing at least 18 months longer than Chuck and that made all the difference in the world.
The next Christmas that stands out is the year I bought him Super Metroid for his Super Nintendo game system. We were living in Jonesboro, Georgia. I clearly remember starting that game and both of us saying "Wooowwwwwwwwwwww" as we mutually appreciated the incredible graphics and game play. It was awesome. We had previously played Metroid on Sam's Gameboy, so we knew we were in for a treat, but neither of us was prepared for the incredible colors and the rich detail of the game. The box that the game came in promised a certain amount of game time, but Sam (as usual) beat the entire game in about two thirds of the time. At $50-$65 per game, it was an expensive treat! But games and clothes were about the only two things I ever bought him once he started gaming.
The next Christmas that stands out for me was the year that Sam and I drove up to Asheville, North Carolina where Mother had recently moved. On Christmas Eve, Reggie drove up to Asheville to be with us for Christmas Day. I had purchased a number of gifts for Reggie, but when he opened the Nautica shirt, he flipped out. He was so happy with it that he immediately put it on. From his joyeous reaction, I realized that no other gift I had ever gotten him had ever really pleased him. I resolved to do better in the future. But I'm not sure that I have succeeded!!! As of this Christmas, we have known each other almost 34 years. No other gift has gotten the same reaction as that Nautica shirt!
The first Christmas after Sam installed World of Warcraft on his computer also stands out to me. We were in New Jersey. I got Sam some stuff and he got me some stuff. But neither of us remembers any of it because we were fighting for computer time in order to play WoW. We had this elaborate sharing system worked out. He would play from the time he woke up (around 2 p.m.) until about 5 a.m. when he finally went to bed. I would play from the time he went to bed until he woke up again. I can remember feeling so forlorn when I would hear the first sounds that signaled that he was waking up for the day. That strikes me as so funny now!
That is just a few memories. My own childhood memories of Christmas are less clear. I do remember being at my Grandmother McClarin's home in Norfolk, Virginia. My sister and I would wake up at dawn and begin pestering our Mom to get up. The rule was "stockings only" until everyone was up. This was quite a challenge with two teenagers (my oldest sister and brother) in the house. By the time they were finally up - after a LOT of bugging on our part, we would open presents, with my brother playing the part of the Grinch until he was fully awake. LOL
As a child, the family did not have a lot of money, so one game was purchased to be shared by all. The one that stands out in my memory is Mousetrap, an elaborate board game that centered around this huge mouse trap that you would gradually build, piece by piece, until it was ready to be set into motion. At the time, this was really exciting!
Reading back over this post, I am suddenly struck by the realization that each memory took place in a different place. And with that realization comes the awareness that I had Christmas mornings in a multitude of other places - Japan, Massachusetts, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona and now - Tennessee! Each one has been different! I wonder where next Christmas will find me!!!