I guess as much as anything else, Ali and I have tried to fill our kids’ lives with good memories. Their holiday memories aren’t focused on one location, so that it becomes a part of the background—instead, the locations become as integral a part of the memory as what actually occurs there. The Christmas on the beach in Baja, at Grandma’s in Minnesota, in PV, at Grammy’s in Portland—we can pinpoint each one, and then draw the memory from there.
Remember the Christmas we went to Grammy’s and you made her a dog dish for Bridgette, Lowe?
“Do you like cars?” No.
“How about a train set?” No.
“Riding a bike?” No.
“Well, I guess I’ll have to surprise you then.”
The Grotto. A place in Portland that Nuns have covered a few trees in lights, opened up the church to some choirs, and skimmed eleven bucks a head off of thousands of us eager to feel Christmas-y. Oh, it was fine, but the Christmas spirit was fleeing as we struggled through the traffic choked neighborhood.
She had joked with the kids that she wanted a donkey for Christmas. So we wrapped a little plastic donkey in with her gift. First, she read the card which was filled with the kids’ funniest spelling words—poop, pee, and butt. Hilarious. When she opened her present and pulled out a donkey the kids just about lost it.
Ali, at five years old. Birthdays always included a Christmas tree in the background. She says she’s always liked having a Christmas birthday (23rd) because everyone is in the holiday mood. Mine is twelve days later, after Christmas and New Year’s, and I can say that it isn’t the same happy-holiday-mood at all by then.