At the risk of sublime irreverence, there were a few years when the boys were little, that we had a Christmas tree each year. They may not even remember for all I know, but I loved the whole process (up to taking the tree down and cleaning up the pine needles). And may I say, they were magnificent. Plaid bows, white lights, the boys’ names spelled in blocks underneath the tree. I would sit on the couch at night and just feel bathed in the gentle glow – I would forget that I had no idea how to pay the electric bill, didn’t worry about how I would kite a check at the supermarket and didn’t mind making a pot of coffee out of grounds that had already been soaked once. Sounds so stupid as I write this, but my sons were so little and I didn’t want them to feel that they would miss a thing (given that their bio-dad and I are of different religions we celebrated both holidays. Ok, I celebrated both holidays.).
I hope their memories are happy ones. I always return to the visual of them wrestling with these big purple/blue stuffed monsters and giggling. He-Man and Shera. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Pajamas with feet. Care Bears and “The Muppet Movie“. We had no money, but we weren’t poor.
This time of year is one which we all experience together. Most of us show the better part of ourselves (with the exception of those bizarre people who end up fighting in parking lots) and I like that. I feel the exhausted anticipation in the air, the rush for people to be together. The Salvation Army bell ringers outside the supermarket (who receives money from me every time I exit – I can’t help it – by the end of the season we’re on a first name basis). I don’t get tired of the holiday music, parents invoking the all-seeing, all-knowing Santa as an effective means of getting little ones to hold their tantrums until they get home. I cry each time I hear “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas“. Such a sap.
Tomorrow Andy and I will join our brethren and grab some Chinese food and see an early movie. I will be particularly sensitive to the silence in the morning, for it is a different sound than that of a typical morning. And I will listen respectfully. To those who celebrate Christmas, my wish is the same as every year – may you receive all that you wish for and may you wish for all that you have. And to those who just allow themselves to be enveloped in a blanket of goodwill – snuggle in and enjoy it, extend it and I’ll see you at the movies.