Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas with the Kranks

Chris & KJ are Christmas shopping for me tonight. I know Chris really wasn't in the mood, he's had a busy week so far and he's tired, but KJ really looks forward to having special time alone with him. It reminds me of when T was little and just the two of them would go shopping for my presents. One time, in Cincinnati, T was about 3 and she came running in the house and was SO excited! She said, "Mommy! Mommy! We bought you lots of presents!!!" Being the smart ass that I am, I jokingly said, "Oh yeah??? Whatcha' get me??" Well, she proceed to tell me. In great detail. Chris was SO mad!!! I guess he forgot to tell her it was a secret!

So, I'm 42 years old and have known Chris since I was 15 (you do the math). That's a lot of Christmas's together! Some have been wonderful, some have not. Some of my favorite, most memorable Christmas's would have to be:

-our very first married Christmas. God! We were so young (and SO skinny!). We had an apartment and felt so "grown-up" shopping for our first tree together. I'll have to dig up some photos. I think that was the year Chris gave me a day @ the Elizabeth Arden spa in the city AND a Fendi bag. I wore that bag TO DEATH!!!
-the Christmas I was pregnant with T. I was barely pregnant but it was still a very special time. Our living room in our house in NY had a vaulted ceiling so we had a HUGE tree that year. As a matter of fact, it was so large we actually had to tether it to the staircase railing. One night we heard a loud crash and sure enough....the tree had fallen over (that's when we decided to tie it to the railing.).
-T's first Christmas was also very special to me personally. All of our family was there to help us celebrate (my grandparents, my parents, my brother, Chris's mom & dad). She was not quite 6 months old and looked like a little China doll in her red velvet dress.
-The year we drove up North for Christmas and hit an absolute white-out in Knoxville. The girls were so excited to see snow, we pulled into the first hotel we could find and they made snow angels right then and there in the parking lot.
-KJ will tell you that last Christmas was especially nice because she got Trixie just a couple of days before Christmas.
-Believe it or not, I actually think the Christmas right after 9/11 was especially memorable. We went home to NY and went into the city for the night with my folks. It was bitter, bitter cold but crystal clear and I honestly never felt more safe. There was also an incredible sense of patriotism in the air, there was a feeling of togetherness, of "one-ness". There was still plenty of horrible sadness but there was also a wonderful feeling of "family." Like you could tell people were making it a point to be with their loved ones. We took the girls to the Bronx Zoo to see the lights and yes, KJ was in the stroller (poor thing! she says all of her milestones start off by me saying, "I think you were in the stroller." It's a running joke in our family.)

Some of our less than stellar Christmas's:
-the year my Grandfather passed away. He died in 1996 (oddly enough, on December 16). We were living in Cincinnati at the time and rather than drive to PA for the funeral, back to OH and then all the way to NY for Christmas, we just stayed in PA then went on to NY. Well, by the time we got home to Cincy (after New Years), our tree had lost all its needles and alot of my glass ornaments had fallen off the tree and smashed all over the wood floors in the living room. What a mess. Glass ornaments and pine needles everywhere. I think the very next year we bought an artificial tree.
-the Christmas after Chris's dad died. His dad really loved the holidays and really loved having everyone at the house for Christmas Eve. I know Chris misses his dad every day.
-the Christmas/New Year's Eve we lost Buddy. God that was rough. We had been at my mom & dad's in PA for Christmas and come home in time for New Year's. I let him out the back door shortly after mid-night on (officially) New Year's day and we never saw him again. KJ & I cried for months and months.

And, like every other family, we have our share of family traditions at the holidays. I particularly enjoy decorating the tree. Each daughter has their own box of ornaments -- things they've made throughout the years, personalized ornaments, Chris puts up his beloved Jets ornaments, etc. I love hearing "ooooh!!! I remember THIS ornament!" or "Do you remember when I made this?" Since we moved out of state in June 1995, most of our Christmas's have been spent on the road. Lots of singing in the car, lots of movies in the car and even a couple of "don't make me turn this car around's." Aaaah....the holidaze.

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