So This is Christmas

Dec 11, 2017

Yesterday my friend Kathy and I went to a concert at Elmhurst Outdoors. What a perfect afternoon it was for the event.The snow cover framed the lodge which was decorated beautifully. Inside the place was cozy and welcoming. Mike Biggar , Sandy MacKay, Grant Heckman and Jessica Rhaye entertained for two and a half hours and it was wonderful. The afternoon show had sold out leading them to offer another show at 6:00. I am sure that show was lovely as well. Mike Biggar delivered an energetic and funny performance highlighting his immense talent and musicality. Jessica Rhaye’s crystal clear voice is delightful.Mike talked about the spectrum of Christmas music lovers from the haters to the can’t get enough-ers. Those who want Christmas music from mid November to well into the new year, to those who tolerate it on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I am somewhere in between. I hate that the music comes to an abrupt halt and those days right after Christmas day it seems everyone has already forgotten about Chritmas.I have my favorites and I do enjoy most of it.Each song they offered yesterday had a quality of its own and I lost myself in the music. Then they introduced the Christmas song I dread hearing depending on where I am and how able I am to process the depth of the song’s meaning for me. Sometimes it hits me when I’m not expecting it and it always brings a jolt of pain and nostalgia. I love it and treasure it and dread it at the same time. The first few measures of it bring me right to the heart of what this song is for me. So this is Christmas…Tears fill my eyes as I type those words. I instantly return to the Christmas Eve when Zac changed the lines in John Lennon’s song. I will never hear that song without hearing my son singing along. It was Burton’s traditional Christmas Eve run. He had been doing that run for many years beginning when Zac was a toddler and his dad took him along. First stop Sussex for Burton to do his last minute shopping. Later as Zac got older Zac would also buy presents for me and for his siblings. A few years later Megan and Chapin tagged along and did their shopping. Then a stop at Connell’s ,then at Mike’s for his Christmas Eve birthday spread and open house.Later a stop to see the Barrett’s was always made. The run was and still is a tradition entrenched and honored. Both Chapin and Caleb look forward to driving their Dad on that day and sometimes count on it for their last minute shopping.But back to the particular day Zac changed the words to the ones that still echo in my head and heart. Caleb was just over one year old. I had decided I was not staying home but was coming along for the ‘run’. All four kids, Burton and I piled into the Jimmy.I prepared two bottles for Caleb filling them with milk from our milk cow.Anyone that knows me knows I don’t have a keen sense of smell. Had someone else filled those bottles they may have prevented what happened later.Off we went. Right away Caleb devoured his first bottle. Just before Norton he seemed fussy and still hungry. I gave him his second bottle. Seconds after finishing that one Caleb projectile vomited managing to hit each one of his siblings with a shower of sour milk.A quick stop was made at the Norton store where Burton ran in to buy paper towel. I stripped Caleb down to his diaper and threw away his clothes.The kids cleaned themselves as best they could and off and we headed to Sussex to buy Caleb a new outfit. Sometime along the way Zac began singing So this is Christmas and what have we done. We brought our mother with us and its not very fun.For years afterwards that was Zac’s Christmas song and I was seldom(or possibly never)invited on the run. So as Mike , Jessica, Sandy and Grant belted out that song and as the crowd sang along to the chorus I held on tightly to that memory.The world just acknowledged the anniversary of John Lennon’s death and that song of course is part of the legacy he left. It is also a part of the lasting legacy Zac left in this family.


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