All I Want for Christmas

I don’t know that I have a favorite Christmas memory, but I do have a vivid one.

It was when I was small — 5, 6. That particular year, Dad and Mom went crazy with gifts. Dad had been working two jobs to save up enough money for a down payment on a house. They finally got a house and we moved in when I was 3. My brother Tom was born on the day we moved in.

Even after we got the house, Dad kept that second job. That meant he didn’t see a lot of us, so I guess he was making up for that with gifts.

On this particular Christmas, I got a little toy piano. Everyone else wanted to play with my piano but I wasn’t into sharing so there was a lot of yelling of, “It’s mine.”

Evidently, nobody else wanted to share their toys that year either. Dad announced he was quitting that second job because it wasn’t worth it if we were going to behave that way.

I don’t think that piano lasted into the new year, which is maybe one reason I became a music lover and not a music maker. But what did last long after the crying and refusal to share was that this isn’t the way I want Christmas to be.

Much happier memories, which have all blended into one big childhood blur, are the Christmas Eve ride to see the lights and the Christmas evening tradition of playing games and making puzzles.

So whatever you’re wishing for this Christmas, I hope you get that and also happy memories of spending time with the people you love most. I’d sure trade that little piano for another Christmas with Dad. I’d even let him play it.


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