I had vivid memories as I stared at the lights twinkling on bub’s parents’ tree of my Nana and her decorated house.

Every year on Christmas Eve, I remember dressing up fancy in shiny shoes and soft, velvety dresses ready to tear through Santa’s first round of gifts. My Nana’s tree always had a few spare types of decorations: tinsel–but she spaced it out in pieces ever so perfectly, red bows, fabric poinsettia-looking blossoms, and usually red and/or gold balls. A star sat on top. The tree was quite real.

My dad’s sisters, my aunt, and until she passed away, my great aunt, would convene and it was my sister and I as the only children who peered with wonder and curiosity at all the presents under the tree.

If I had to use the bathroom it was the walk from the family room where we all laughed, talked, drank eggnog, and spent time, that I journeyed through the delicious smells of the kitchen–but took a detour–through the dining room with some desserts that were abandoned. As I sampled meringues and Christmas cookies, there was the formal living room where white lights would flicker in their solstice. And then I spotted it, the mini tree, all the way at the end of the corrider, just past the door of the bathroom. White lights adorned it, and a mirror hung behind. The mirror giving more power to the twinkling lights and to the tree’s presence. It all sort of seems silly. Isn’t it just a tree?

And right around the corner, my Nana’s room. Completely feminine, perfect up to the hairbrush and mirror. Photos with frayed edges stuck in antique frames. My father. Sand, ocean, he’s at the beach. So small. A different person. Not yet the knower of everything he can do today. Everything that he teaches me daily. Everything that I’m grateful for.

And she’s gone and I fear that my memories of her laugh and love may slip into the shadows of what used to be her home, but it is now someone else’s. Someone else’s chance to create twinkling wonders at Christmas.

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