I remember a Christmas ....
I was in my teens. I think I was about 16, maybe 17. My sister and her family lived across the street. I was .... still am .... very close to her family. My sister is 13 years older than I, and she was a major caregiver for me when I was a baby. My brother-in-law was the sweetest guy in the world. He had his own special nickname for me. Back then I went by my full given name, Marilyn. He called me Marilyn-warilyn. And their kids were Stanley-wanley, Sheron-weron, and Stevie-wevie. It was a fun thing! And I was probably closest of all to those three kids. Stan was just eight years younger tham me, Sheron came along when I was eleven, and Steve just born when I was twelve. I baby sat all of them, I played with them, and they were more like little brothers and sister than nephews and niece.
By the time I was in my teens, I was enjoying being the older kid. And on Christmas Eve, it was especially fun, because I got to help play Santa for them. So the night of the Christmas that I began to tell you about, My BIL along with my parents were putting together some toys for the kids. I don't remember now what those toys were, but parts for bicycles or wagons or something of the sort were spread all over our living room, and I was enjoying being part of the grown up activities.
I recall that I helped to carry the (finally!) constructed toys across the street and set them under the tree. I couldn't wait to see the kids in the morning, see how much they would enjoy what I helped to assemble. It was just so much fun!
Christmas morning came, and I discovered that I had overnight become a child again! Under our own Christmas tree were gifts for me. From Santa, as well as some from my parents. My daddy insisted that they didn't put them there! What was I talking about? Last night? He didn't remember putting toys together in the living room. Obviously I had dreamed it. Why would we be putting together toys for the kids? Santa took care of that! And all the time my momma was fixing breakfast with a little smile on her face.
Daddy would never admit that there was no Santa. Even when my own kids came along and my parents spent Christmas with us or us with them, Daddy would help us with their "Santa gifts," and then in the morning, a gift from Santa would be under the tree for me.
The last few years there was less flamboyance about it but I always had a gift, and the little card was always said "From Santa." In my dad's handwritting.
It was a tradition that wouldn't quit. And it didn't until he was gone.