Photo by Clint Patterson from Unsplash.
Holiday Gifts of Childhood
Mid 1950s, Western Pennsylvania
Christmas morning at our grandparents’ house.
Doll with golden curls, evening gown, and pearls
waiting for me under the Christmas tree
when I was six or seven.
Photo by Marina Ambrosimova from Unsplash.
How excited I was!
Soon, though, I cut the doll’s hair in a crew cut,
wore her pearl choker on my wrist,
and went looking for bugs, rocks and frogs!
Late 1950s, Tidewater, Virginia
Christmas mysteries were in the air at our house
when I was nine or ten…
All of the colorfully wrapped presents under the tree
had been squeezed and shaken for days.
Photo from Pixabay.
On Christmas morning, there was a huge surprise…
Parked around the Christmas tree, there were
three Christmas bicycles for my siblings and me!
Mine was sky blue.
The three of us were always on the go,
bicycling far and wide for the next five or six years,
enjoying our newfound independence,
challenging our mother’s peace of mind!
Early 1960s, Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia
My brother, sister and I grew strong, riding our bicycles
up and down the steep hills of our little town.
Our mother soon learned not to worry…
to the extent that mothers can ever be free from worry.
There were no bicycle helmets when I was a child. For safety, wear a helmet! Photo from Pixabay.
Late 1960s-1980s, Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
Christmas Eve…we exchanged gifts at my parents’ home.
My husband, Frank, and I were expecting a child in the spring.
The gift from my mother was an album of old family photos,
including pictures of my father and me on our tricycles.
In my future, there were three children
receiving bicycles for the holidays.
Like my mother and all other mothers before her,
it was my turn to worry!
Girl on a tricycle Photo by Tuan PM from Pexels.
I was shocked at first when our daughter Ellen,
age three, requested a motorcycle for Christmas,
but her father saved the day!
He found a yellow plastic motorcycle/tricycle.
Ellen was overjoyed on Christmas morning
to find the tricycle parked under the Christmas tree.
Like her mother before her, she was empowered.
She rode the little yellow “motorcycle” toward independence.
Several years later, Ellen received a shiny new bicycle.
She still bears scars from surgery that followed an accident.
Under her chin, are traces of gravel from later accidents…
Ellen always got back on her bicycle; she lives her life that way!
1990s, Miami Beach, Florida
Hanukkah menorah, dreidle, and presents. Photo by Dad Grass from Pexels.
Celebrating holidays with Drew and our children…
Joe, age eight, always adventurous, ever nimble,
climbed the trellis to the rooftop with his new telescope
from Dad, exploring the wonders of the night sky.
Our daughter Katey, age six, was dazzled
by everything she saw and wanted all of it, too…
but in the end, she was delighted with every gift she received,
a new bicycle or the small, sweet surprise of Hanukkah gelt.
Hannukah Gelt. Photo by Joey Dean from Unsplash.
Katey loved unwrapping a gift on each night of Hanukkah
and receiving Christmas presents, but most of all, she valued
being surrounded by the love of family and friends,
that most precious of holiday gifts.
Photo by Any Lane from Pexels.
Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia
Photo by Engin Akyurt from Unsplash.
Wherever you are, whatever holidays you celebrate,
we wish you childlike wonder, pleasant surprises,
inspiring experiences, and auspicious new opportunities.
We wish you health, love, and joy in every New Year!
Robert & Cheryl