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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Snow had slowly started to fall. Just like the weather man on channel nine had predicted. It had settled nicely into the lawns of the neatly decorated condos across the street. Christmas lights had started to come on; it was almost six o’clock and dark out. They came on window by window, bush by bush as if done so for a dramatic effect. My grandparent’s house smelled of turkey, sweet potatoes and red wine. You could hear laughter coming from the family room, the crackling fires and dogs, whacking their tails on the hardwood floors, begging for some accidentally dropped food. I pressed my hand to the window in the formal living room, the glass was cold, and the lit Christmas tree next to me smelled of pine needles and holly.
“It’s like a Christmas scene out of one of those Christmas movies we watched today, Kate.” My barely eleven brother Jake, whispered to me, he had an arm around my shoulder and placed his hand on the window next to mine.
“That’s what I was thinking.” As I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, “Tomorrow, if we get a lot of snow, we should build a snow man,” I said at an equal tone. We took our hands off the windows and made our way back to the family room.
I had never been to Indiana in December, but my grandma always told me what a magical place it could turn into with a bit of snow. My grandparent’s house was warm and comforting, like a child’s blanket, I felt secure. With a Christmas Story 24 hour marathon on TBC and the second Christmas tree lit (neatly decorated the night before by my parents, my grandparents, my brother and I), I felt at home, for the first time, in a long time.
My grandma has always been a great cook. I can remember when I was a little kid, sitting on her bar stool chair and eating her triple-thick fudge brownies, so there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that Christmas dinner wouldn’t be amazing. I hadn’t been to Indiana in four years, yet it felt like time had stood still in that kitchen. I still knew where everything was. The granola bars, fruit snacks and real salt where the old, built in microwave above the stove (my grandpa is a diabetic with heart problems and cannot have real salt). Even though it felt like time had stood still in the kitchen, there was still a gnawing feeling eating at my nerves.
My grandma had been real sick that year…a scary, fear of her dieing, type of sick. She had a brain tumor that June. A huge tumor on the back of her brain that had slowed down the once energetic woman I knew four years ago. The surgery had gone fine, it was very successful, even though they paralyzed her vocal cords putting her breathing tube in prior to starting the surgery, which caused her to have a feeding tube for six months. That wasn’t even the worst of her problems. Her surgery had caused memory loss, and a deep depression. Things hadn’t been easy for her, yet I admire her so much for dealing with all this bulls***, without ever losing that amazing smile and her bright eyes.
I got up from the bar stool and walked about the bar to get into the kitchen, I took the spoon for the pot on the stove, the homemade stuffing was amazing. My grandma rushed over from the sink where she was cutting green beans and swatted my hand away.
“Oh Katie, what am I going to do with you?” she said with a smile, she embraced me into a hug.
“I’ve missed your hugs.” I said into her shoulder, she smelled like her perfume that she always bought on the third floor of Nordstroms.
“I’ve missed your smile.”
“I’ve missed you!” we said together, I was surprised she remembered the game we used to play when I was five. We’d play it to help heal how much long distance relationships hurt.
“You remembered nana.” I said, using her special name as I again, took in the smell of her perfume.
“I will never forget sweetheart.” She whispered into my ear. Her breath was hot on my neck.
As we loaded up our plates and sat in the living room and laughed when Ralphie’s mom told Randy to eat like a pig, we all became a little closer that night. We learned how Christmas can bring family closer and develop family ties. I’ll never forget that Christmas, it made me become closer and value my family a little more. I remembered how much family means to me, and how I’ll never take another moment, another hug, and another phone call for granted again. My little cousin Emma pressed the singing snowman on the bookshelf that she’d been memorized by since my grandma brought it out of the closet, “It’s the most wonderful time, of the year…” started up. I smiled, it defiantly was.