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Due to severe weather in Oregon’s’ greater Willamette Valley, until further notice, Misty Peterson Thomas’ column will be re-run from previous installments.

The title of this piece in December of 2012 was, A Merry Christmas to All!

This morning as I was taking my daughter, Mariah, to work I was listening to a radio station out of Eugene. They were talking about a live performance of “The Nut Cracker” that was happening in town. As I was listening to the commercial my mind went back in time.

It was Christmas 1991, my son, Daniel, was 3 years old. That year my brother lived in Eugene and we all, my brother, sister and I, decided to do something different for Christmas. We took her three children and my two children to see a live performance of “The Nut Cracker” at the Holt Center.

Daniel was still at the age where I could put a suit and tie on him and he didn’t fight me. He had a bluish gray suit with a mauve colored-stripped tie, and shinny black dress shoes. He had blond hair, big blue eyes, chubby cheeks, with small dimples near the corners of his mouth. His haircut was always a flat top styled haircut, and to put it simply, he was adorable, and he knew it. He charmed everyone woman that came in his general direction.

At the first intermission, Daniel needed to use the “facilities.” We were on the 3rd level balcony and the restrooms were located one level down. We took the elevator down, and of course, Daniel charmed all the ladies on the elevator.

Once we arrived, Daniel went into his own stall. I stood outside the door and held the door shut. At that time he did not know he could throw his tie over his shoulder and “take care of business.” I had failed to teach him that life fact.

I heard him in the stall talking, but to be honest with all the noise in the restroom I was not paying attention. The toilet flushed, and then, much to my surprise an angry 3 year old flipped the door open, his hands and arms swinging wildly, as he grabbed his tie, looked at me and exclaimed:

     “I can’t believe it, I peed on my tie!”

Every woman in there started to laugh. I tried to calm him down, but I was laughing as well. I took him over to the sink, removed the tie, and tried to rinse the stain out. Then I went to the hand air dryer and tried my best to dry it.  As all of this was happening my adorable son was standing next to me ranting and raving, with his little hands and arms flaying here and there, as he recount the story about how he peed on his tie.

It was one of those Christmas memories I will never forget. Even though I do not remember much about the performance we saw, I remember that.

Daniel is now in his mid 20’s. He has moved away, started his own life, and is successful in the life he now lives.

As I was writing this story out, I remembered that last time I shared it with anyone.

It was Christmas 2010. My elderly neighbor and I were drinking coffee one morning on his back porch and talking about the holiday season. He listened, laughed and then looked at me and said,

     “Kid, hold on to those memories. Don’t let them get away from you. When life gets tough, those memories will carry you.”

At that time, his son was not doing well. Actually both of his children were not doing well. I asked him if he had a story, a Christmas story, concerning his children. He looked at me, shook his head no. His head then dropped, and he looked at the floor. There was pain in his eyes, actually almost a tear, and he changed the subject.

Last year, in October, my neighbor passed away. Christmas 2010 was the last major holiday I was able to share with him, yet his words have not escaped my memory.

This year all three of my children will be else were for Christmas. Life has taken them to form new Christmas traditions of their own. It has also taken me in a new direction as well.

As I enter this special time of the year, I will reflect, as my friend said, on the past. I will remember many of the Christmases I celebrated with my children, as well as when I was a child, and I will be thankful and grateful for the time I had.

Though this year will be different, with no children around, different does not mean bad. It means I will celebrate the holidays with people I know who have become family to me. Just as my children have forged new traditions, so shall I.

With that said:

                    Merry Christmas to all!

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