i feel a bit hesitant to share this christmas memory because it brings up mixed emotions, happiness and at the same time sadness and missing family members who have passed away. it might be a little wordy and is a touchy subject so feel free to just skip over this post im giving permission.
my dad had an aunt and uncle growing up, they never had kids so my dad and his siblings were just as much their kids as they were my grandparents kids. luckily they lived right next door to my grandparents house so they were very close. his aunt, my great aunt lorrie was the best. we called her rere because when my older brother was young he could never say lorrie. i remember many many sleepovers at rere and poppy's house. we got to eat ice cream, watch old movies; anything with john wayne in it or my fair lady and get the best bubble bath ever. i remember little things about these sleepovers like rere taking out her dentures and putting them in water for the night, the john wayne picture framed above her bed with a rose, and waking up the next day and getting to play with her makeup. rere also happened to be the best cook ever, her soups including vegetable soup and lentil soup with hot dogs were out of this world good.
on saturday nights i would sleepover her house with one of my cousins and go to her church the next day. rere was a lutheran while my family was raised catholic. lutheran church always seemed so much more exciting then catholic church, she would always always pack a snack bag and we could go to sunday school and the pastor was amazing. pastor linda woods always made sure to spend sometime during the mass to bring the young kids up and talk to them about what the gospel was that day and just talk to us. this was no exception on christmas eve mass. christmas eve mass was probably the one day a year my whole family, grandmom, poppy and rere all went to church together. and pastor woods would always make certain to speak to the young kids.
unfortunately my rere passed away when i was in the fifth grade from breast cancer. so that first christmas after she had passed away my father made a donation in her name for the kids in mass on christmas eve to get a little gift. each year its different, but always so special. my youngest sister eventually got confirmed in the lutheran chucrh she continued to go with poppy after rere passed away and now that shes a little older she helps pastor woods pass out the presents to the kids. every year in mass we can all feel it coming, the sermon is given and the kids are called up to sit with pastor woods. she starts to talk about what the importance of the day is and explains what is happening in terms the kids understand, then she says it that members of the congregation had an aunt who very much loved kids and christmas and wanted to share this with the rest of the congregation. i always look to my grandmom because i know how much she misses her sister and then to my father and squeeze his hand. and i know we can feel our aunt lorrie with us.
the traditional kids photo before heading off to christmas eve mass.