Floating Along On Our Tortilla

Last night I took the kids up to bed, per usual. They brushed teeth, went to the bathroom, etc. etc. etc. It was time to read and I snuggled them into my bed and picked out a Christmas book we’ve never really opened.

We read the book twice, and then my youngest asked what “other” Christmas songs there were.

I went down the list of the usuals. “Rudolph.” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” They asked me to sing each one, and with my wobbly voice I conceded.

Somewhere between “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and explaining exactly what was Figgy Pudding…the giggles set in.

They wanted silly songs. With silly words. And of course Dad was called in to help.

After our 12th rendition of “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” and fits of laughter I thought would wet the bed, the stories started. What did I do for Christmas as a little girl. Where did that song come from.

And some how this lead to a mention of Columbus (I think during Rudolph and the ‘Like Columbus!’ silly line) and we talked about the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria…to which my husband chimes in… AND THE TORTILLA!

More fits of giggles. And jokes about floating along on a tortilla. Eating. Floating. Eating. Floating.

And for the post 24 hours I have heard nothing but “Mom. Mom! What were the boats again? … AND THE TORTILLA! ahahahahahahaha!”

The entire family bursting into giggle fits at breakfast. At lunch. During dinner tonight. And while somewhat annoyed that the joke keeps going and the kids (and one adult) continue to ride the laughter for all it’s worth…it hit me:

This is one of those memories, isn’t it?

The ones everyone remembers until they are old and gray and giggle about each year.

I can hear it now. My son will be in college, my daughter finishing high school…the brother-sister ribbing will start over the holidays and someone will shout “COLUMBUS AND THE TORTILLA!” and the family will fall into a fit of laughter that brings everyone back to that warm place.

I don’t always recognize when moments like this happen. It’s good to call it out, so I can remember. I am so terrified of forgetting so many of these details. Of course I have this blog, but I haven’t done baby books and I’m not a scrapbooker or one to keep every little memento.

What I do know, is I won’t soon forget the Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria…or the Tortilla.


  1. I love this story. My kids are now 19 and 21 and we’re at the stage where the memories we made ‘back then’ are bubbling back up. I never got around to making my scrapbook either. Thank heaven I took the time to write down our own precious moments. Those snippets and snatches of sweet conversation that I find scribbled in a journal or, later, posted on my blog, are the ones that have endured. Thank you for sharing your celebration of family – always inspires me.

  2. I love this. This is one of those family in-jokes, that will remain funny forever, if for nothing else at least for the fact that everyone shares in the humor. Beautiful story. I am not a scrapbooker either, but I think THESE are the real mementos to keep.

  3. My kids are now 18 and 20, and as I think back, I too have so many of these special moments that I was able to share with them while they were younger. Specifically, my daughters weekly picture that she would post above the water cooler. Often times it was a picture of the sun, with other elements thrown in for scenery. The greatest part of this was asking her each time what it meant, what was special about it. I remember ever word to every explanation. Not because they were radically different than anything else she might explain, but more because this one act made her so happy. Those giggles, that laughter; well that is truly the tipping point….more than what the joke was, just the unmitigated sense of love that exists in those moments of memory.

  4. It’s absolutely the CORE of our family dynamic that we all have elephant-like memories for all the funny things we’ve ever done or said separately or apart. Just tonight, I joked (I’m 35, my mom is 59, my dad is 63, bear in mind) about something ridiculous we all laughed at when I was four. And we laughed again.

    Then we watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and repeated all our favourite lines until 1 am.

    Trust me, you’re on the right path.:)

  5. I thought I was the only one who caught herself thinking “THIS IS HER CHILDHOOD!!” right in the middle of it. Like a cognizant dream. I love this story.

  6. Wow. Great visuals.and tone.and feeling…you captured this moment.
    Ya know what I love? it began with story telling that nudged you to tell your own. There’s something to that I’m only just beginning to find rather giddy. Something to the ability to turn the mundane routine into something anew where imagination is allowed to wander roam and play. I love that you gave yourself those moments Erin …not stuck to cold harsh tho perhaps rigidity of routine. You let this magic happen. 😉 Hugs for that in you.

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