A few days ago, our family held the first annual Spencer Family Christmas Party. It was a little bittersweet, and at times very sad, because things were very different from what they had been just 10 months earlier. Our holidays are all in the process of being redefined. With our mother’s passing, on February 22nd, we knew that everything would naturally change, and everything has. Nevertheless, like the Byer family…which is our mother’s family…we knew that our parents would not want their daughters to drift apart after their passing, so our youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock, and her husband Chris decided to host the first annual Spencer Family Christmas Party. This first year was filled with some special gift exchanges which included home made jerky, reproductions of special pictures of Jesus that had been in Mom and Dad’s home, special Bible verse plaques, and flash drives that held old family pictures from our childhood. This was an emotional gift exchange, filled with sisterly love and sharing…and yet lacking in the one thing we wanted there more than ever…our parents. Since that was not to be, we had to settle for a Christmas party they would have absolutely loved…and on that note, we succeeded is a very spectacular way.
Having gone through most of our parents things, we knew which things were precious, and which things brought back sweet memories. One of the things that brought back sweet memories of Christmases past, was the Christmas sweater that Mom always wore that day. Your really couldn’t call it Christmas until you saw Mom in that sweater. She also wore a goofy necklace with Christmas lights on it. Our sister, Alena Stevens got that sweater, and decided to wear it to that Christmas party. It was almost like having Mom there, or at least like the echo of Christmas past. It really was a special treat to see that sweater. The necklace went to my niece Jessi Sawdon, and while she didn’t think of wearing it to the party, she wore it to church the next morning, so the echo of Mom at Christmases in our past was complete. I don’t think that we could celebrate this particular Christmas without the Christmas Sweater. That’s what kept Mom close to us.
There were of course, some new faces at this year’s party, but it seems there always are. We had several boyfriends or girlfriends who joined us. The grandchildren are getting so grown up now, that we are almost to the point of another growth spurt in the family. In fact at the time of the party, my grand nephew, Jake Harman and his fiancé, Melanie Price were expecting a baby, but at the time of this writing, she has already arrived. Little Miss Izabella Siara Harman made her grand entrance at 12:55pm on December 21, 2015, weighing in at 5 pounds 11 ounces. This year seems to be a year of firsts…some good some not so good. Izabella’s arrival was definitely a good first. She is the first great great granddaughter of my parents, Collene and Al Spencer, the first great granddaughter of my sister Cheryl Masterson, the first grandchild of my niece Chantel Balcerzak, and the first child of my grand nephew Jake Harman…as well as the first sibling of Melanie’s daughter Alice. She has turned some of us into great grand aunts and uncles, and others into aunts and uncles. She joins a huge family, with more to come in the future. We are all so very blessed and I know that our parents would be so proud and happy too.
While brothers have long been known to be best buddies, and most get along pretty well as kids, it seems like that isn’t always the case when a number of years separate the two. Bob was fourteen years old when his only brother came on the scene. Sisters had dominated his life from his birth in 1954 to the birth of his brother, Ron in 1968…four sisters, to be exact. I’m sure a brother was a welcome change, still fourteen years is a great distance to overcome when it comes to being best buddies. Ron wouldn’t even be someone Bob could play with much before Bob was sixteen, and then driving and going out with friends and girlfriends would be more the things on Bob’s mind.
In most cases, all the things a teenager wants to do, when they get to the point of driving, put a quick end to the time they want to spend with their little brothers and sisters. That was not the case with Bob…at least not where his little brother was concerned. They had always been close, and still are today. Bob has always had a way with kids, and his little brother was no different, and once he is friends with someone, it takes a lot to change that. And Bob doesn’t care about their age. His little brother has always been special to him. It has always been a special relationship.
I will never forget some of the dates Bob and I went on…with his six year old brother. It was not what I would have ever expected, but found to be very sweet. Sometimes, it isn’t the normal things about a person that make the person, but rather the unusual things they do that can endear them to you…sometimes forever, as is the case with Bob and me. He just had a special quality, a kindness to others. I could tell that he could no more have hurt his brother’s feelings than he could grow wings and fly, a trait I’m sure my brother-in-law also appreciated as well.
Of course, as with any boy or man, the car they drive is a big deal, and for these brothers, cars were something they had in common, and still do. It was a bonding thing for both of them. Maybe that is why they were such good friends, and still are today.