One of my favorite things to do this time of year when my boys were little was to ride around our neighborhood in Pasadena, Texas with my husband and kids to look at Christmas lights. Seeing my sons’ faces light up with delight and awe when they looked upon the brightly colored homes filled my heart with joy. As they became teenagers with their own lives, my sons no longer wanted to continue this tradition. As with all teenagers, they preferred to go see Christmas lights with friends and girlfriends, and my heart filled with joy watching them grow up into young men.
Now that ALS has confined me to a bed attached to a ventilator most days, I had given up on seeing Christmas lights in person because it would be too difficult on my body. However, after making a 3.5 hour trip to Houston for a full day of doctor appointments, I realized some excursions are worth the discomfort my body will go through. Therefore, we set a date for the following Saturday to go with my niece and her husband to go see the Christmas lights in Newton, Texas which is about 20 minutes from my home.
Saturday arrives, and anticipation takes over my thoughts. The night cannot get here soon enough. It takes over an hour to get me transferred from the bed to my power wheelchair and loaded into the van, but we finally get on the road a little after 6pm. The closer we arrive to town, the more lights we begin to see. White reindeer and Santas line yards. Nativity scenes portray Baby Jesus in the manger. White, green, red, and blue lights wrap around trees and sparkle along roof tops. Candy cane lights hang on the town square. The local restaurant Cajun Joe’s illuminates the dark sky with its Christmas lights that cover the entire front of the building.
After driving around the town square, we head to the local park which has been transformed into a Christmas lighting wonder. We disembark for a walking adventure, and I force myself to smile at the adults and children who unapologetically stare at the woman in the wheelchair who has a tube protruding from her neck. I refuse to let my self-consciousness prevent me from enjoying the cool air and beautiful displays. Children race by us in the dark while their parents linger behind. We laugh when we realize that we went the wrong direction on the walking path and have to spin around to see each of the 12 Days of Christmas displays. My heart warms when I see the lights erected in the memory of others. My smile widens when I glimpse Santa on the pond fishing and a penguin blowing cold air. Too soon, the journey comes to an end as we reach the partridge in a pear tree, and we return to the van for the trip home.
I have seen many beautiful lights over the years when I lived in Pasadena, and I will always fondly remember the drives with my little boys. However, on this night, it was my face that lit up with delight and awe as I took in the beauty of the Newton, Texas Christmas Lights.