First Christmas On The Farm


JenTo my children, Ehmar, Jaedy, and Elcee,

Christmas is just around the bend now. We’ve put the tree up and I started cookie baking over the weekend. There won’t be a visit to Santa this year and I’m a bit sad about it. But 10-year olds, on the fence of believing, don’t feel comfortable trying to squeeze into the nooks of the big guy’s chair like they did when they were 5 and there was no protest when I suggested that maybe we wouldn’t make the annual trip to the mall in our reds and greens. Your ready acceptance of the change has made me nostalgic about this season more than usual. It’s as though I feel the ticking of the second hand like someone tapping me ungently on the shoulder to nudge me forward when I was hoping to linger a bit longer and gaze at the window display of sugar plums and soft curls that your childhood has been for me.

Days like this assure me that I was right to take a hundred thousand photographs along the way, that my love of capturing the details was not for naught. The photos and videos of your early Christmases will always serve as balm when Momma’s heart feels too tender about the drift away from the sleepless wonder and the rush to the bottom of the stairs and the squeals and ripping of paper on Christmas morning. Humor me on the days when I want to sit with you against me near and reminisce over them together, won’t you?

I’m thankful, too, that my own momma took photographs of our early Christmases, even as she wrangled 2 young children, a barn full of animals, and an old coal furnace that belched and burned hot through the deep winter months on our mountain.

I pulled out the shoebox today and found a handful of snapshots of our first Christmas on the farm. 1978. We’d only moved in some 4 months before and the front room still looks pretty bare. No drapes on the windows and just a few pictures on the walls. No porch swing hung yet but I see the pines in snow which was typical for Christmas mornings in central PA. I look at those photos and my heart feels like it might burst from all the memories pressing against it. Would you like me to share some with you?

Christmas Eve in the farm house

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