Our family has always loved to sing.
From the time I can remember my Mom, Dad, sister and I would huddle around a phone receiver on Christmas Eve calling family and friends singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." As our parents aged, my sister and I received a number of calls from people now singing to us. They didn't want the tradition to end.
Last year we started a new one. We're down to just six of us for Christmas eve dinner, my sister and her family, my Mom and I. We don't place calls anymore, but we do take time after dinner to sing carols. My mom just beams. Music is truly her favorite thing in life.
Blame it on the egg nog (okay wine), we decided to get crafty last year and assign each family member a section or two from the 12 Days of Christmas -- my Mom insisted on carrying out the prestigious "five golden rings" line.
We'd go around the room, each of us crooning out our "day", and each time we'd come to my Mom, she'd act surprised, then catch on that it was her turn and belt out "Five... Golden... HENS!" Every time! We'd laugh, remind her it's rings, she'd do a practice, "Five, Golden, Rings" then we'd start up a new round, the song carried it's way back to my Mom, she'd react in surprise and belt out yet again, "Five Golden HENS"!
This year the surprise would be on my sister and her family. Our caregiver bought my Mom the 12 Days of Christmas book. She's been practicing the entire thing over and over since Thanksgiving.
I couldn't wait for the new annual tradition to start last night. What a surprise my Mom would deliver. She's knows the entire song cold now.
We were each assigned a day, my Mom once again waited to be honored with the cherished "five golden rings" line. The song started up and my Mom actually joined in on all the days just as I expected, the lyrics wound their way around the room and ultimately came to my Mom for her big solo, she smiled a grin and launched into her lines: "Five.... Golden.... HENS"!!