A few days ago, my mother and I spent several hours decorating the house for Christmas. She isn’t a fan of the holidays, and honestly, since we lost so many family members a handful of years ago, I haven’t been either. Working retail has helped sap my Christmas spirit, but I found it this year – scattered little shards that I managed to piece back together. One of the silver linings of losing my job has actually been regaining my peace of mind, and re-ordering my priorities.
Somewhere between decorating the hearth and un-boxing our well-loved Christmas tree, with Lady Antebellum’s On This Winter’s Night album playing, my thoughts drifted to Christmas’s long ago: sitting around my Grandpa Tom’s fireplace with everyone we loved close by, snowball fights with my brother and cousins at my Grandma and Pa’s house, and all the gatherings at my Grandma Jean’s. I always felt so inundated with love while I was there; really, wherever she was felt like home.
The years rolled back and I could remember her caring for me as a small child; those memories are hazy, dream-kissed in the way only the faintest, best memories are. I remember “sleep-overs,” when she stayed with us when my brother was first born – us brushing our teeth together, having adventures, giggling when we should have been asleep. I remember asking her for stories, and how they were always about me – I was always the heroine. And I remember the song she sang to me, though again, it’s just snatches of the lyrics:
Tell me story, tell me story
Tell me story, remember what you said
You promised me you said you would
You got to give in so I’ll be good
Tell me a story, then I’ll go to bed
On a whim I did a Google search, and found out it’s a real song, from years ago. It may even have been something she sang to my father when he was a child.
These days, I’m telling my own stories, starting a new venture. I’m scared. I’m wondering if anyone will want to read what I have to say. I’m wondering if it will be good, when it’s done, if hopefully my novel or novels will inspire anyone, set their feet on a path that brings these characters who come to such wonderful life. And the truth is, I’m not sure.
But I have my Grandma Jean to thank: for her songs, for her laughter, for her guidance, and for her stories. Without her, I’m not sure I would have had the yearning to hear and tell stories instilled in me. So thank you, Grandma Jean, for all that you gave me, and all that you taught me. You inspire me still, to this day. I miss you, but my time with you was enough for a lifetime.
I hope you all find a story to tell that you believe in as I believe in mine.
Happy reading, and happy writing.
And Merry Christmas.