Posts Tagged ‘funny things children say’

When my kids were little, we used to drive around looking at Christmas decorations. We lived in Glendale in southern California, near Pasadena. Before the kids were born, my husband and I would drive around looking at the decorations and taking his niece or other friends and relatives with us. Our regular route included the Balian mansion (the Balian family owns a creamery and a well known local brand of ice cream), Christmas Tree Lane, and points in between. We went every single year. When the kids were born, we continued the same route, not missing a year until we moved away four Christmases ago.

On one of the drives to the Balian mansion and then to Christmas Tree Lane, we stumbled across a church that had a drive-thru live nativity presentation. We drove through and loved it. Every year we had to find out in advance which one weekend the performance would be held so we wouldn’t miss it. Every year we would wait in a long line that wrapped around three or four blocks to see the nativity story in a number of scenes. Sometimes we’d finish and go to the end of the line and wait to drive through again.

After my divorce, I tried to keep things as normal as possible for the kids and I continued to take them to see the lights at the Balian mansion in Pasadena and to Christmas Tree Lane and then to the drive-thru nativity. When my youngest, Susie, was about four years old, we were on our way to see the drive-thru nativity. We drove on the 134 freeway and passed by the Huntington Hotel and a bridge that had been closed for earthquake retro-fitting. That night the bridge had been re-opened for the first time and was brightly lit. We noted it as we drove by and went on with our business. After the drive-thru nativity, we stopped at the end of the route for hot cider and cookies that were served by the church. We headed back to the car and Susie promptly fell asleep. We drove around a bit looking at more decorations then we headed home. Susie was asleep the whole time. When we were driving past the lit up bridge, Susie opened one eye and we heard her tiny, weary voice say, “Baby Jesus Bridge.” We laughed and asked her what she had said and she repeated it, “Baby Jesus Bridge.” Somehow, she had equated the lit up bridge with the Christmas decorations and the drive-thru nativity during which Baby Jesus was discussed.

We thought it was funny. Susie fell back to sleep and we drove on home. After that night, every single time we drove by that bridge (which was at least four times a week) she would shout out “Baby Jesus Bridge” as we drove by there. It became a family way to describe where we were at along the road: before the Baby Jesus Bridge or after? As they grew older, they would tell their friends that it was the Baby Jesus Bridge and it caught on. Everyone we knew referred to it as the Baby Jesus Bridge. We still call it that. Susie is now seventeen and we still all call it the Baby Jesus Bridge.

Some traditions, like driving around to view Christmas decorations, are intentional. Some, like the Baby Jesus Bridge, are accidental and somehow more special. I don’t live in southern California any more but when I do go back and drive by that bridge, I can’t help but think of my little Baby Susie calling out “Baby Jesus Bridge.” It brings back wonderful memories.

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