Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Night Before Christmas

When I was a little girl my Mom read The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore every Christmas Eve before we went to bed.

I didn't realize how important that tradition was until I was in college.  My freshman year of college was the first time that I had ever been away from my family.  The college I went to was not that far away from my hometown, but once I went to college I stayed there until Thanksgiving. 

I went home for that holiday and then I went back to school.  As Christmas approached I had a serious case of homesickness.  My roommate and I were feeling sorry for ourselves  and one night after we had gotten into bed and turned out the lights we started talking about our Christmas traditions. 

I told my roommate that my Mom had always read that story to us.  I can't remember why now, but I started reciting the story. 

I had it memorized. 

Word for word I recited the story like I had the book in my lap, but it was dark in our room and the book was back home.

The story has always been a part of Christmas.  I have read the book to my girls every Christmas Eve from their very first Christmases.  I can still recite it from memory so I can hold the book open to them so that they can see the pictures.

Last year Haley's Big Sis decided that she wanted to read it.  It was kind of hard for me to give that up, but I did.

Today we received a box from my Mom in the mail filled with wrapped boxes.  There was a copy of the book inside, it wasn't wrapped. 

We opened the book and I realized that it was the kind of book that you can record your own voice into.  I immediately thought that it would be so cool to have a recording of my Mom reading the story.  I turned a page, but there was no sound.  I thought maybe that she had expected me to record the story, which also would have been cool, I was disappointed though. 

Haley took the book. She has a couple of books that can be recorded and she started pushing the buttons.  Haley wanted to read the book so she started turning pages and that is when I heard my Mom's voice.  I was afraid that she had recorded over the first few pages. 

I asked her if I could look at the book.  I read the instructions.  It said that it works best in a room with good lighting.  I turned on the light and then closed the book and opened it again.  My Mom's voice told me that the book was a gift from her read in her own voice.  We turned the page and the story began.  We hadn't ruined it after all.

Haley has listened to the story, read by her Grandma many times this afternoon.  It is sitting on the coffee table in the front room and the lights are on.  She goes in to that room and listens to the story and then comes and finds me and says "Grandma read."  or "Read book."  She loves it.

So there is another tradition that has changed and changed again.

Thanks, Mom.

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