Celebrating the Joy of Grandchildren

Grand Holiday MemoriesA Grandmother Celebrates the Joy of Grandchildren During the Holidays

By Cheryl Withrow

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring …

Wait a minute. What happened to the whispers of anticipation, the giggles of excitement, the joy of children in our house on that night of nights, Christmas Eve?

Life happens. People marry. They have children. Children marry. They have children. The cycle of life perpetuates itself.

In the midst of it all, the holiday season becomes a time to reflect, a time to reassess, a time to enjoy the life cycle in its purest form – grandchildren!

Grandchildren, who have not become overwhelmed with the reality of life that includes work and bills and caring for families. Grandchildren, who have not become jaded by the world and its ways. Grandchildren, who have so much to learn. Grandchildren, who, thank goodness, still believe in “that right jolly old elf,” Santa Claus!

Although the house may be silent on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day is another story. That is when my husband, Charlie, and I welcome a houseful of family that includes grandchildren awash in the glow of Christmas.

Their eyes how they twinkle, their dimples how merry …

They crash through the door filled with tales of missing cookies and milk and reindeer paw prints in the front yard.

One Christmas, Gage, who was 3 at the time and quite remarkable in his ability to memorize poetry, even recalled hearing the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. He had some concern, though, about the chimney thing.

“Grammy,” he asked, “how did Santa get in the house? Daddy always locks the door when we go to bed at night.”

I wove a yarn of Santa’s magical key and how it allowed him access to every single house in the whole world.

Riley Rose, a perky 2-year-old, already is in the Christmas spirit. In anticipation of the joyous holiday, we recently made a visit to a local toy store. Curiously, all the way there, Riley Rose would tell my daughter, Amanda, that “baby poops.” Amanda would check our newest addition, Crickett Anne, for any telltale signs – nothing. No sooner had we crossed the threshold of the toy store than Riley Rose made a beeline to the baby-doll aisle, where she immediately spied a Baby Alive doll. I soon realized what Riley Rose had been trying to tell me: Baby Alive poops! I guess “the peddler, just opening his pack” will need to bring her a Baby Alive doll, because Riley Rose told me, “Grammy, I have to have her . . . please.”

Because she will be only 3 months old on Christmas, Crickett Anne, who was born in the front seat of a Chevrolet Impala, in the parking lot of an abandoned convenience store (but that, folks, is another story), will be dazzled only by the lights and the tinsel. I can’t wait until the time comes, however, when she can listen to the stories of the fellow who has a broad face and a little round belly. Prepare, my little one, to be enchanted.

Joseph, who is 7 and our oldest grandchild, still believes – kind of. Last year he visited Santa, dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, at a Christmas party. I could see the seeds of doubt sprout as Joseph’s encounter brought questions I hate to hear.

“How does he get everywhere in one night?” “How does he know what everybody wants?” “How can a guy so big get down a chimney?” and on and on and on.

As I patiently answered each query with more fables and myths than I care to admit, I pondered yet again the sweet passage of time and these grandchildren I love so much.

God has given me much – my daughter, my grandchildren, my husband. I am a lucky Grammy. Reflecting on these gifts as I write this memoir has given me the opportunity to reach deep inside my soul and come up with the realization that family is all any of us ever need. They are the foundation of my life, my reason for living.

And with that I say, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!