September 3, 2013
My Favorite Memory
There are many memories throughout my nineteen years of life that are very special to me. Nevertheless, so far there is one memory I recall never failing to put a huge smile on my face. And that was Christmas. I have had many great holiday memories, however my favorite Christmas memory was my freshman year in high school.
Traditionally, my family would travel during the holidays to Memphis, Tennessee to visit both sets of grandparents. This was always my absolute favorite time of year. I could hardly wait to see my family who lived down there. We would always do all sorts of Christmas activities that brought us “holiday cheer.” Activities like walking through Santa’s Wonderland, drinking hot chocolate, watching A Christmas Story, and our annual chubby bunny contest. One other holiday tradition that my family participates in is opening one of your presents however many days early as you are in age. It was my freshman year of high school, and the third year of not being able to see my friends and family back home in Tennessee. I was sixteen that year, therefore I was allowed to open one present sixteen days before Christmas. Considering that my immediate family and I used to live there in Memphis, Tennessee, I would also get to visit some of my friends that I grew up with. One friend in particular, Abigail Adkins, is who I consider to be one of my best and truest friends that I have ever had. I met Abby at a church camp during the summer after my third grade year. After meeting, we became instant friends. She and I have so many things in common, and most importantly, we can tell each other anything. I have always cherished those moments that I got to visit her. That’s why, when my parents broke the news that we were not going to be able to visit at Christmas any longer, I was devastated. Christmas was my only time left that I got to hang out with Abby. My parents explained to me that it became too far to drive, and too expensive to fly. As cliché as it sounds, I think that a piece of my heart was suddenly taken away from me. The home-bound Christmas holidays went on for about 3 years. It was heart-sickening not being able to spend time with my best friend, or even just talk to her. I absolutely hated it. It was time to open my one present sixteen days early. I was sixteen that year, therefore I was allowed to open one present sixteen days before Christmas. We were all sitting in the living room, hot chocolate in our hands and the fire crackling, when I looked over and saw that my parents had actually designated a present for me to open this time. It was a bright green envelope that had red ribbons that bound it. I shook and bent it a little in hopes of possibly figuring out what the present could be. “Money? Cards?” I wondered to myself. It was very thin, so I was not able to figure it out. I continued to untie the silky ribbons and rip open the envelope. Inside was a green piece of paper. While sliding it out, I first noticed my old church’s logo on the top left corner. I proceeded to read the title to myself. “2009 Y.I.A.” My heart immediately began racing; even faster than the time I went skydiving in Texas. “Y.I.A.” stood for “Youth In Action.” Y.I.A. was one of the holiday retreats that my old church is a part of. My parents were actually letting me fly to Memphis to go to a youth retreat! This meant that I could definitely get to see my family and of course Abby! Ecstatic, I raced to hug both of my parents. I did not know if it was real or if I was dreaming. As it was getting closer to Christmas, I became more excited and even a bit nervous. And packing only intensified those emotions. Finally, the day came, and I had to load up and head to the airport. The plane ride down was only a couple hours, yet it felt so long. Once the plane landed, it was time for me to exit and find my grandparents, and Abigail. I nervously walked off and went down to the baggage claim area. There was a huge crowd of people traveling for the holidays, and an even bigger rush. Attempting to ignore all of the people, I looked around, then spotted a familiar coral sweatshirt belonging to none other than my best friend Abigail. Both of our faces lit up and we both grew grins from ear to ear. I rushed over to my Abby and my family. They all engulfed me with a one giant group hug. I could not believe it was happening! I was so overwhelmed with happiness that I actually began crying! It was already a better present than any clothes or electronic that a person could think of. That night consisted purely of conversations of how we have all been doing for the past years. Abby got to spend the night with me at my grandparents’ house just like old times, enabling us to wake up the next morning and meet up for the retreat. The present that I received from my parents that year was honestly the best present I could have ever asked for. It was one that changed my life by helping to develop and mature as a person. It made me realize not to take things for granted, and to appreciate those precious little moments while you can. It taught me that life is short, so you have to live it to the fullest with no regrets.