I could hear her, and I had been dreading this day for weeks. It was December 1st, it was 9 p.m., and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" was just starting.

"Please God", I silently prayed from my bed in the back of the house, "if You're listening, please let her just give up. Let her change the channel and just forget the whole thing."


Well played, mom.

As a child, there was nothing I enjoyed more than watching Christmas movies with my mom. Then those inevitable teenage years hit and she suddenly became the last person I wanted to spend time with. After all, cartoons were for children, and I was a man. I would do anything I could to get out of that once-adored, now-despised tradition, but nothing ever seemed to do the trick.

I shuffled into the living room, determined not to enjoy myself. Being the mature, rational teenager I was, I gave my mom the evil eye, sat down, and started tweeting about "how much i h8 spending time with my mom" or whatever it was I was tweeting back in high school.

"Boy, don't you give me that look. This is your last year at home and you're watching this movie with me."

Always the rebel, I rolled my eyes and did my best to look at anything but the screen. I even tried sneaking back to my room, and I was halfway down the hall when my mom noticed and threatened to take away my car keys. I had no choice. I was watching this movie.

So I sat down, once again determined to make the worst of this half hour.

Then it happened. My mom started making her usual colorful commentary about the show. I turned and looked at her, wondering when my mom, the same woman I had been avoiding for the last few years, developed a sense of humor. She gave me a big grin then turned back to the TV to snort and mention how Cindy Lou Who's "ass should've been in bed instead of wandering around the house at midnight."

I actually started laughing.

Then it clicked, a combination of the finality of it all, of my life at home with my parents and the epiphany that this wasn't about cartoons or Christmas. It was about making memories with somebody who won't be around forever. Looking back, it's easy to laugh about how immature I was and how melodramatic kids are, but that honestly was a turning point for me. After those 30 minutes had flown by, I didn't even try to protest when Frosty the Snowman had started. I was laughing too hard to try to make a break for it, anyway.

I guess you could say my heart grew three sizes that day.

Now I'm in college, and while my family and I still watch those Christmas classics, it will never be the same as those days when I was living at home. And though I sometimes regret that I came to this realization later than I could and should have, I'm just happy that I did it before I had left home for good.

Now when my mom calls me in the days before break to talk about my coming home, and she mentions that she recorded everything for us to watch, I don't roll my eyes, I don't dread it, I just smile and thank the Lord that I'm not a teenager anymore I have another year to make memories with my loved ones.