My favorite Christmas memory

   Before I begin this story, I want to thank my brother Craig and my Mother-In-Law Berna Deane. Because of their VERY GENEROUS donations, the Shannon Wilker Foundation is going to be able to help twelve families enjoy a really nice Christmas meal this year. I also want to thank everyone else who has donated to the foundation. We have been able to help a lot of cancer patients with bills and gas cards. I am very grateful to be associated with such caring and wonderful people. I know my Angel Shannon is so very grateful as well.

   This time of year makes me think about my Angel Shannon a lot. I wanted to write about my favorite Christmas memory, but it’s hard to choose because there are a lot of them. I remember the one Christmas when Ryan had to put his own bike together. That was pretty good for an eight year old! I also remember the year we bought Justin his first roping saddle. I think we were as excited as he was! I will never forget the tradition of buying Justin and Ryan socks so they could look at them and throw them backwards over their shoulder.

   I have some great memories of our two wonderful granddaughters. I will never forget how cute Brittney was the first Christmas we got to spend with her. Another tradition we started was having Cassidy help us decorate the tree. One night I was holding her up so she could put some decorations on the tree. Cassidy turned to me and said “Papa, we’re having the best time ever!” I looked at Shannon and we both had a little tear of joy in our eyes.

   But as I look back on all of our Christmas memories, I know my favorite was in 1982. This was the first Christmas we spent together as a family. I remember putting the tree up and all of us decorating it together. I remember Shannon and I buying the boys their presents but not wrapping them right away. Shannon said it would be more exciting to wait and wrap them Christmas Eve, and then put all of the presents under the tree so the boys could see them Christmas morning. This began our Christmas Eve tradition.

Our first Christmas together is my favorite memory because I remember how excited Justin and Ryan were. I will never forget the fun Shannon and I had wrapping presents on Christmas Eve and then putting them under the tree. But more than anything, I remember the overwhelming feeling of warmth and love I felt. I’m sure I didn’t understand or appreciate just how special that feeling was then as much as I do now. It is my favorite Christmas memory because it helps me realize just how blessed I am for our wonderful family.

   I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you all for reading these stories. Your friendship and support is one of the greatest gifts I could ask for.

   Shannon, I want to wish you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and let you know how much you mean to all of us. We will always LOVE AND MISS YOU!

Next week: New Year’s Resolutions 2016

P.S. While we were unwrapping presents that morning, Ryan remarked “Hey Mom, Santa uses the same kind of wrapping paper we do!” That started another tradition of wrapping presents.