Friday, December 24, 2010

A star, a star, shining in the night...


It was six years ago, today.

Our oldest Granddaughter, Julia, was two and a half and her sister, Riley, was just a little over one.

I had gone to babysit as I did three times each week.

The little girls were sick. Their cheeks were glowing and glorious. I remember how pretty they were…red hair damp and curly from their slight fevers.

In the process of sick children, our daughter-in-law had not had time to finish decorating the tree. It sat in the corner bedraggled and sad awaiting finery that had not yet appeared.

I had warmed the bathroom up and put the girls in a lukewarm tub to play. They were quite occupied with bath crayons. Julia was happily scribbling away while Riley attempted to eat the spongey red and blue discs.

Suddenly, mid-scribble, Julia stopped and got very serious, “Gwamma, this is my sad face.” I asked her immediately, “Why do you have a sad face?” and she replied with great sincerety, “No staw, Gwamma.”

I didn’t understand her, so I asked her again. “No staw, Gwamma,” she repeated, blue eyes big and solemn.

“No straw, Julia? You want a straw?” She patiently repeated it to me, slowly, like I was a very dumb adult, “No staw on twee, Gwamma,” then she held up the yellow and blue bath crayons and pantomimed drawing in the air. “Mine color a staw for twee, Gwamma,” she said. She had a little trouble with her pronouns back then.

I got them out of the tub, cuddling their sweet slippery, clean baby chubbiness in fuzzy bath towels. After they were dressed all warm and cozy in their tiny, blue jeans, turtlenecks and slipper socks it was snack time. After half-heartedly consuming a few crackers, Julia started again. “Gwamma. I sad. No staw on tree.”

So I commenced a search for paper, crayons, and glitter which was mostly futile. After much digging I finally found a manilla folder, some little kid’s crayons, a yellow highlighter and some glitter tubes.

We sat at their little table. Julia colored and colored and colored with crayons and the yellow highlighter all over that manila folder where I had drawn a big star for the top of the tree. While she colored Riley ‘helped’ by attempting to eat the crayons and making that gaggy, stick-out-your-tongue face that seems synonymous with trying to dine on crayolas.

Finally, finally yellow highlighter, multi-colored crayon squiggles and a few bath crayon accents completed a magnificent star. The glitter pens were dried up but Julia didn’t care. She thought her star was perfect.

After watching me carefully cut all the way around the outline of the star, Julia looked at me with a solemn face and pointed at the top of the tree. I lifted her up high into the air and after a few seconds deliberation she finally knew where she wanted to put it.

As I lowered the sweet weight of her down her peach soft cheek brushed against mine.


Safely on the ground, she put her chubby starfish hands onto her tiny jean clad hips. “Oh,” she said softly, “Gwamma, is a staw…” and her beautiful round blue eyes just sparkled with happiness.

I will never forget her face in that moment.

I will never forget the glorious satisfaction she found from a manila folder and a yellow highlighter.

Each year since when I place the angel on the top of our tree, I think of Julia and her ‘staw’…

And I am determined to find Christmas in my heart…

No matter how hidden away it seems to be some years..


Bless you, my dear friends. You have lightened my heart this year, shared my silliness, shared my sorrows and have offered acceptance and reassurance in an extremely difficult time of my life.

Even when you haven’t known it, there have been so many times you have been the star on top of my tree. I thank you for that and I send each of you the wish and the hope that each of you has a star adding joy to your life this holiday season.

Merry Christmas.

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43 comments:

Rural Revival said...

Jenny,

This is a kleenex moment if ever there was one and I couldn't have read this at a more needed time. Thank you.

I am sending wishes of a joy filled Christmas to you and yours this year and through out the coming year.

~Andrea~

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Jenny,
First let me say the lemons came yesterday and we used them with dinner.
Secondly I want to thank you and your Matlockian followers for the many blessings they have brought into my life this year.

JDaniel4's Mom

Terra said...

a beautiful story! Your little grands are amazing! Christmas is here and I am struggling to "relax" and enjoy....I am having to constantly remind myself...this is the first year I have felt so amiss during this season and reading stories like help to remind me!!!

Jocelyn said...

Oh Jenny what a heat warming story and that is the most Beautiful Star I have ever seen!!!

You my friend are the Star on all of our trees!!!

Your support and kindness to me this year has meant so much!!! I am so Blessed to have found you!!!

Wishing you and your family a Blessed Christmas and know that I love you girlie!!!

Lucy (aka RHarper) said...

You're a sweetie. Sometime I'm going to walk over and meet you in person. Won't that be great. Have a wonderful day tomorrow. And today.

Deb said...

what a little sweetie...just a reminder of what Christmas is about...I'm sorry about the loss of your dear friend...

Millie said...

What a beautiful post. Merry Christmas to you and all of your loved ones. Millie and Teresa

Flat Creek Farm said...

Beautiful, Jenny! Merry Christmas to you and your family, and thanks for being our star too ;) Hugs, Tammy

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

Oh what a sweet little Christmas blessing! Merry Christmas Jenny!

Jeanie said...

So sweet, Jenny. May that star and the spirit of the season shine in your hear forever.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Through the eyes of a child...it makes all things shiny and bright and possible! Thank you sweet Jenny for the light and love you share with us! Merry Christmas dear friend!

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is just beautiful Jenny.
Wishing you and your family a beautiful and shiny Christmas.
xoxoxo

5thsister said...

Jenny,

You have such a way of telling a story that cuts straight to the heart. God bless you and your family and may all your Christmas wishes come true.

La said...

You are an amazing Gwamma, Jenny. I wish you the merriest of Christmases. La

Cheryl said...

Thank you for this Jenny.

May your burdens lighten as your spirits brighten.

Merry Ho Ho Ho to you and yours.

Ames said...

Oh gwamma this memory is definitely a keeper. Thank you so much for sharing these tender moments. God Bless and Merry Christmas Jenny!~Ames

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Merry CHRISTmas Jenny Sweetie...
You are my STAW. You have picked me up SO many times this past year with my illness. I cannot begin to tell you what you did for me. I would find myself low, and receive a card, I found myself lower, and suddenly a box of wonderful books appeared, you are a STAW. You make our lives brighter when you shine through your words sweet friend. I so love to read your thoughts.

I hope in 2011 I get the pleasure of meeting you finally. I haven't ventured out much, but I am going to play at Meri's next week one day while I am off. It has been an adjustment for me, and I am trying. I know my voice is not coming back and I am learning to push air and make word sounds slowly. I take it one day at a time. Somedays it is better than others.

May you and your family have the merriest CHRISTmas ever Jenny sweetie. May God richly bless your family this holiday season.

Many hugs and SO much love, Sherry

Terry said...

What a sweet story! Thanks for sharing it! Merry Christmas to you and yours, and all the best in the new year too! :0)

Tina said...

That was lovely. Just lovely. And thank YOU for helping to launch me as a blogger. Your support and encouragement has meant the world to me. I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

H said...

Happy Christmas to you Jenny and also to Mr Steve and all of the family. I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed being a part of the Alphabe-Thursday community and I have met some great new online friends. Thank you so much :)

00dozo said...

A wonderful and magical story, indeed!

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

(and look! I did this in less than 100 words!)
;-)

Judie said...

You are the "staw" on our "twee."
Thank you, Jenny.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

When you share your heart...I am honored to read it. This is a wonderful story and a wonderful message. I pray for a better 2011 for you. Merry Christmas. I am so glad to have gotten to know you:)

Pondside said...

Aw, Jenny, you've done it again. If I didn't have my own precious little ones here with me I'd be bawling.
Every time the three year old sees a star - a star-shaped cookie, ornament - we have to sing Twinkle Twinkle. I'm having the best time - Nana is my best role!

Pondside said...

.....and meant to say that last week you were absolutely the spirit of Christmas and the Christ child to me, and lifted my heart in a way that had a big impact on my outlook and on my family's Christmas!

Paula said...

Aw sweet Jenny...you are such an inspiration and I don't think you even realise it:)
Merry Christmas sweet girl!

Country Dreaming said...

What a precious story.
Jenny I hope you have the Christmas that you imagine and
the best New Year possible!
I have enjoyed getting to know you AND you have provided me with many moments of laughter at the best times I needed it.
Looking forward to more fun in the new year.

Merry Christmas!

Melinda

Theresa said...

Litle children sure tug on our heartstrings:) Sweet story about the STAW! It was beautiful and meant so much more than a store bought one!

I am so thankful to have you as my friend! You entertain and make me smile!

Merry Christmas dear friend! Enjoy these days with your family! Big hugs!

Jennifer said...

Aw, that almost brought a tear to my eye. What a great story, Jenny! Merry Christmas! <3

The Quintessential Magpie said...

This is the most beautiful gift you could have given your readers, Jenny! And I know how sweet Julia feels... I thrill at the sight of the Christmas star and what it represents brings me to my knees in praise.

From my heart to yours, my beautiful friend whom I love more than I can say... MERRY CHRISTMAS!

XO,

Sheila :-)

gayle said...

What a wonderful story to always remember! Merry Christmas!

Brenda said...

I simply loved this sweet story Jenny. I hope your star shines bright tonight and through the coming year.

Vicki aka Jake said...

You, Jenny, are the staw in every post you share with us.

Have a peaceful Christmas with all those you love, and who love you back...

xoxox

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

Merry Christmas Jenny,
It has been a pleasure getting to know you.
God Bless,
Dana

Kat said...

Oh Jenny, this is my favorite Christmas post ever! This has been a very tough year for so many people, and sometimes it takes a child to remind us of what is really important. Blessings to you and your family at Christmas and throughout the year. You are most definitely one of the blessings I'm thankful for :) Hugs, Kat

jeff campbell said...

You have said it all sister! Peace and blessings to you and yours...and the pleasure has been all mine ;-)

Unprocessed1 said...

You're a blessing to us, Jenny. You and Mr. Jenny!

Aunt LoLo said...

Jenny, I am crying. Such a sweet story.

You have such a magical gift for story telling. Thank you for brightening many of my days this year.

God bless you, and Merry Christmas!

Rek said...

Some memories when it comes to kids are so special, one can recollect them any time and feel renewed....I guess, you were her staw that Christmas...happy holidays...

Susan said...

what a wonderful story! so touching :)

I was unaware that you are going through anything rough, you always seem so cheery! I wish nothing but good for you! Jenny, you are loved, and befriended by so many!

Warm, Bright blessings of the season to you and yours!

Susan

Jo said...

Jenny ... what a beautiful post, story, memory ....and you know ... you are a star ... and even when you thing you are not shining as brightly as possible ... you really are! and that i know for sure! (hugs)

Mumsy said...

What a wonderful heart warming story...I can just see it all...so sweet. What a wonderful memory. Hugs

Sue said...

Just beautiful, Jenny!

And thanks for all the starshine you bring to our lives. You have created a wonderful gathering place here.

=)