sits open on my mantel once a year for about two weeks around Christmas.
When my oldest great-niece, who is now 6, was a year old, I wrote, illustrated, designed, and made a book for her to celebrate the tradition of Christmas in my family. I have written about that tradition before -- my father playing Santa and my mother's painting of Christmas cookies. I didn't know that book was only the first. I have created a new tradition of bookbinding for the four children, each of whom likes one book better than another.
When I look at the fireplace now, I see me at the youngest Great's age -- 3 -- and I see their parents as children and I see the four Greats. I remember my mother and father and marvel that they were children, too, once, and I am dumbstruck that my nephew is 40 already. As I have aged and as people I love have died -- some in old age and some too young -- I have held on to memories of youth.
I celebrate them in my books for the Greats, but perhaps even more so for me.