ROBEY HOWARD: Spending The Holidays With Hollis
This Christmas was special. For the first time in many years, we had a little one in our home who still believes in Santa Claus.
Hollis, our 5-year-old granddaughter, is a very good little girl most of the time but she took special pains to be very, very good in the weeks leading up to Christmas. She slipped a few times but mentioning the phone and calling Santa quickly bought her back in line. Several times, she asked if Santa Claus would know that she was here and not in California. Her Grandma assured her he would not lose her.
We could hardly wait for Hollis to wake up Christmas morning. Finally she bounced into the room, saw the presents under the tree, and plunged into the middle of gifts wrapped with bright paper and bows. She soon disappeared in a flurry of wrappings as she uncovered present after present. Watching her open her presents made all the shopping and decorating worthwhile.
Now it seems we're going to have another grandchild -- a little girl to keep Hollis company. And Hollis is trying to understand how the new addition will change her life. She's already thinking about her turf and how she can keep it unchanged.
The word her mom and dad keep repeating is "share." Hollis agrees to share, but I think she wants it on her own terms. I know she will dearly love her new sister from the moment she arrives in May, or thereabouts. And we'll, of course, love her too, but no one will ever replace Hollis.
She is so much like her dad. She's inquisitive, energetic, walks on her toes, and talks a mile a minute to everyone. In the two weeks she was with us this time, she carved out her own place in our family and is beginning to have her own ideas about the world around her. Her little world gets bigger every day.
The little things she does tickle me. She got several bottles of fingernail polish for Christmas and before I knew it, she had painted my big toenail blue. She had for some time made a big deal about how ugly my toenail is and decided to take matters into her own hands. My slightly yellow, jagged toenail took on a whole new look, I must say. Hollis said the polish would peel off but it didn't. Every time I see my toe, I think of her.
We took her to see "Marley and Me" at the theater. Marley is a Golden Lab who lived with a family from the time he was a puppy till he died years later. The movie brought all of us to tears, and when Marley was finally put to sleep because of old age and illness, Hollis told me "Don't feel bad, Grandpa. He's just asleep."
To emphasize, she put her hands beside her head like she was asleep. With those brief words, she spoke volumes about life, mortality, and the hope I have for an awakening after I "fall asleep."
Well, too soon it came time for Steve, Stori, and Hollis to fly to California. Hollis held onto my leg when we said goodbye and she tried to get back into the car to stay with Grandma and Grandpa.
In our lives we've said many good-byes. They always come too soon after the hellos, especially with Hollis. Pat, my wife of a little over 60 years, is working to get the house back to normal.
It's awfully quiet here now. The tree has come down, the decorations stored, and the toys Hollis left behind put away for her next visit. The sticks, rocks, and moss she collected have been returned to the yard and will be there for her another day.
We want everyone to be happy where they live, but California is a bridge too far. Happy New Year and a belated Merry Christmas.
Robey Howard makes his home in Moore County.
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