What Do You Want For Christmas?

Funny how things change. I mean, everything does - nothing stays the same.

Still...I recently been thinking about Arizona, and it's funny...the last time I was there was in 1978. I haven't been back. See, I was born there in 1962, and lived there until 1978. My ‘formative’ years. I guess you could say Arizona made me what I am today, such as it is. But it was much more than Arizona that I attribute who I am.

Think about it, if I were to go back, I'd be "the girl from Texas." I'd be the one who talked funny, and was from out-of-town. Fine with me, I've considered myself a Texan for quite a while now. Although the older I get the more I think of my roots and my beloved Miami, Arizona…my late father and his family and all that Arizona continues to be to me.

I grew up in Miami, and Claypool, AZ. We lived in lots of houses…none of them I can actually say was home because we never stayed anywhere long enough for me to remember much about them (except how long it took me to walk from school to my house and some of the street names). But, home was Arizona…where ever my family was, that was what I identified as home. Our family had no money (although I didn’t know I was poor when I was growing up). My mother could take a house on its last leg, one that no-one else would even consider living in, fix it up with little of no money (because we had none) and we would live there until we were unable to pay the rent or something and we would move to the next one. That was just life, it’s all I knew and it was ‘normal’ so to speak.

I’ll always remember the 1st night in each of the new places and how all the new sounds and creaking noises made me feel so insecure, like I was somewhere I shouldn’t be…in someone else’s house per se. After a night or two those fears would go away because the house was now full of my family, my 3 brothers and sister and ‘my’ life.

This time of year I always remember getting up in the middle of the night seeing my mother’s sewing machine light on in an otherwise dark house. She would be leaned over her project, not even knowing I was up. She was making something for Christmas. She didn’t want us to know about it, so after working sometimes 8-10 hours, on her feet, in the hospital cafeteria or school lunch room or some local restaurant, and then coming home to take care of the house and her 5 children and our father…she would loose precious sleep…in hopes to have something for her children at Christmas. From matching flannel pajamas, to shirts and dresses…we always had something she had lovingly made with more than the material costs themselves. I sometimes wish I had something from those years ago, I mean something tangible…but we either wore out the clothes or we passed them along to other kids after we outgrew them…so I have only my memories, which at this stage in my life is more than enough.

So, Christmas 2005 I hope my children remember more than what I may have bought for them. I hope they have a memory of who their mother is and who I continually strive to be. I hope they remember fondly the sleepless nights I spent holding them when they were feverish and I hope they remember a soft touch, laughter as well as a stern voice when necessary. My mother probably doesn’t remember all the times she came to my aid and I hope I’m ½ the mother she is. I hope in 20+ years they can look back at their formative years, where ever that was for them and they smile. Whether we are rich or poor or somewhere in between, the importance is hoping my children have a child-hood they can look back on and find something to be grateful for.

I hope for good Christmas memories they choose to share with others…

© Shanna Hoskison -- December 2005

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