As Christmas Day unfurled this past week, scores of memories came flooding back. I’m sure that each of you had similar experiences. The years go by at a blistering pace, and before we know it, we sit back and wonder where the time went.
One gift in particular my parents gave my wife and I really opened up the floodgates of years gone by. They had created a photo mosaic of each of my boys.
If you are not sure what a photo mosaic is, let me try to explain. A mosaic consists of many small photos that make up a larger picture. It’s very similar to the artistic style of pointillism. At a distance the larger picture is clear and easily discerned from the background, but the closer you get, the more you can see each of the individual photos that make up the larger whole.
There was one mosaic of Luke and one for Cody. As my wife and I opened them and realized what they were, we were rendered speechless. Here, in our hands, was an instant snapshot of both boys from toddler years to the present.
I started to look closely at the smaller pictures. The chaos of a bustling Christmas morning melted away. I no longer heard giggles, electronic noises and laughter. I was enthralled and taken back to the past.
The first picture I noticed was of Luke and I dressed in camouflage with our blaze-orange hunting vests on. We were facing away from the camera and walking into the woods together. He was so young then, barely standing part way up my arm. My little boy was going hunting with his dad. I remembered that moment like it just happened the day before.
The next picture I saw of him was from inside the ground blind at an even younger age. His oversized orange stocking cap was pulled down over his ears and he was sporting the cutest smile. That hat was so big it made him look top-heavy. It seemed as if a slight breeze would knock him over.
I loved sitting in the blind with him when he was so young and teaching him all about the outdoors. We would discuss where the deer might come from; their habits, and what scenarios might possibly happen if a deer stepped into range. He was so full of questions. Those were moments I will not soon forget.
I placed Luke’s mosaic down and swapped with my wife so I could look at Cody’s. My gosh, my youngest son is not so young anymore. I scanned through his photos from the past and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There was a picture of Cody maybe 3 or 4 years old wearing lots of heavy snow-gear.
He was decked out and ready to hit the white stuff with the enthusiasm that only a kid can muster. That boy loves to play outside. Ever since he could walk he would prefer to be running about outdoors if he could.
All parents and grandparents can relate to the massive chore that it is to dress a toddler in hats, boots, mittens and a snowsuit. It is no small undertaking. The stress of it even makes us wonder some times if it is worth all the hassles. Yes, it is.
The first serious snowfall that we had this year experienced the 12-year old version of Cody dressing himself in snow clothes and sledding down the same hill in front of the yard. It was cold out, I mean real cold, but he spent the next hour doing what he has always loved to do.
Yes, this was a very special Christmas Day. Not because of the awesome food, not because of piles of presents, but because of the memories. The years go by so darn fast. There is no electronic gizmo, no flashy gift, no hot-item for the year that can ever replace what memories offer us.
I hope that each of you experienced some of that same Christmas joy. Sometimes the memories are hard when we have lost ones close to us, but those moments spent reflecting seem to be more precious with each turn of the calendar.
Merry Christmas and may each of you create scores of new memories in 2014.