Over the years, Christmas Eve has slowly become a major celebration of the Holiday for the Leonard family. Now, with our sons having children of their own, it has become a tradition to gather the entire clan together on December 24th to share the past year's memories, catch up on what's new, enjoy food and wine and exchange gifts. Then, on Christmas Day everyone's free to visit the in-laws, sleep in late after Midnight Mass, go to church, start reading that book you got or take in a movie, which I've done for the past couple of years.
This was the second year without the presence of the lady who made it work for so long, my wife Sheila, but her spirit was in the air and there wasn't a soul in the room who didn't remember what an important part she played in our lives. I'm sure she would look down favorably on our attempt to keep the tradition going.
My children out-did themselves this year. There were books I've wanted to read, that Keueig coffee maker that lets you make one cup at a time, a great bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and a primer to teach me how to use my iPhone. But the most touching gift was a 2014 Leonard Calendar that has a picture and caption on the date of everyone's birthday or wedding anniversary. It's one of those hanging calendars and they must have spent hours going through old photos so that the the top portion contains a family picture that is relevant to the time of year - the kids on their sleds for January; sitting on the rocks on the coast of Maine for the summer and even one of Sheila holding our youngest the day she came home from the hospital with Kelly in August of 1966. The idea came from a website called Shutterfly.
As we get older (I'll hit 83 next month) memories take up a fair amount of time. My children haven't forgotten that and I discovered last night that they get a kick out of them, too.
Filed under: Opinion