It's funny the things that can jog your memory. This morning, I woke up around 4:45 (yes, that's a.m.). It was probably the anticipation of the impending phone call from the school board saying that school would be delayed because of the ice. Laying there in the darkness, my mind was taken back almost 35 years to my childhood. I'm not sure what triggered it but I was lying there thinking of my December mornings.
It was pretty much a daily ritual that year. I was eight years old. I would wake up early in the morning (I've always been a morning person and an early riser) and make my way to my mom and dad's room. Working my way through the pre-dawn blackness, I would move around to my dad's side of the bed and crawl in underneath the covers. I'd slide as close to him as I could and rest my head on his massive arm. There, he and I would listen to "Cousin Al", a local radio DJ. Al would share his homespun tales, talk about his "RC Cola and moon pie," and play the classic country hits. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.
During December, Al would pull out the traditional Christmas classics sung by people like George Jones, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and others. I would lay there in the bed dreaming about Christmas day--unwrapping presents, eating my mom's sausage balls (still, to this day, the very best made) and heading down the road to Granny's for more fun with cousins.
I want that for my kids. I want them to think of those incredible moments when the world seems okay, when dreams really do come true and when Santa (real or not) seems as close as the big man lying next to you in the bed. This morning, I swear I could smell his aftershave and hear the thump of his heart in his chest. I miss my dad and those early school mornings. I miss hearing him sing songs all over the house (most of the time he got all the words right).
My prayer is that this Christmas season (every Christmas season) my family can create those kinds of memories and that I can be everything to my kids that my dad was to me...and so much more.