By Brittany M., Age 16, Halifax West High, Halifax, NS
It's four in the morning. My brothers and I sneak downstairs to see if Santa has arrived. Our efforts to be quiet quickly evaporate as we rip open packages and scream "WOW". As we sit beneath the magically-lite christmas tree, you make your way downstairs smiling "Don't wake up your mom and dad."
It's been several years since you left us, Nan, but I remember those Christmases so well. As soon as school was out, we'd leave Halifax and travel to Sydney to spend Christmas with you. I remember feeling such excitement as we all bundled in the car for the ride. When we arrived at your house, I would run out of the car with my mom calling out, "do up your coat, Brittany, you'll catch a cold". But that didn't matter. I'd run up the path and there you were, waiting by the door. I'd leap into your arms, kiss and hug you. Off we would go to the kitchen where hot chocolate and cookies awaited us.
Those were such magical times. Dad and my brothers would head to get a tree. You'd get out tree decorations and we'd decorate the tree, under your direction, of course. At night we'd sit around the fireplace, talking and listening to music. You'd tell us kids stories about when Mom was a young girl, about Grandad.
You made Christmas so special, just by being ‘you'. Your smile, your laughter. Going to Christmas Mass in the morning then rushing home to cook dinner. Having snowball fights as we made our way from the car to your house after mass. Your excitement when everyone arrived for Christmas Dinner. After a big Christmas Dinner, we played games and visited with other relatives.
But I think one of the most memorable things for me was a very special New Year's Eve. Mom and Dad went out to a dinner, my brothers went over to stay with our cousins and I stayed with you. We made a special snacks, ‘hors d'oeuvres' you called them, had fruit punch in champagne glasses and watched the New Year come in together on television. We talked and talked about ‘everything'. I will never forget that evening. I was 14 then. And it was the last Christmas and New Years we spent together.
I miss those Christmases but the memories keep me warm and happy most of the time. Let me tell you that I still get up at 4 in the morning and go downstairs to turn on the lights of the Christmas tree. And every New Year's Eve I have fruit punch in a champagne glass and toast the wonderful memories I have of a very, very special lady.
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