Pretty peaceful here, right now. We don’t have Christmas Eve obligations, and so I don’t have to cook like crazy. I am making a pot of chili for dinner! Rebel on the loose! Seven fishes can be eaten by seven million other folks–I’m not Italian, anyway, and fish has been known to make me hurl.
I enjoyed being out for some last minute items early this morning, and I have been reflecting on how different things are, here and now, from the way they were when I was growing up. I’m not referring to world events or periodic apocalypses. More personal than that.
When I was a kid, we had many Christmases when there really wasn’t much of anything to speak of in the way of presents. And if you are expecting me to affirm that it didn’t matter; that we were together and we had each other and that was enough, well, I am going to disappoint you. Did I love the cookie baking and the tree and the carols? Yes, I truly did. I carry on these traditions joyfully today. But the fact is that I was not a virtuous enough child not to notice that, when I called my friend early in the afternoon on Christmas day, there were some major gaps between her description of what she had received, and mine. For example, one particularly lean year, I received an Avon rose-scented cologne in a glass container that looked like a plaid dress. And that’s it. I said ‘Thank you,” and of course I was oblivious to how difficult that must have been for my parents. I resented the fact that my mother believed for a second that it would be a good idea to spend what she had to spend on something so completely removed from anything that I would have liked or chosen. I kind of thought that she actually liked it. I was thrilled when it smashed to bits some months later, although it smelled God-awful in my bedroom for awhile.
I have, not surprisingly, made it a point to work hard to make Christmas abundant for my kids. It is pretty small scale compared with what lots of folks do, but even if I have to wrap little things in big packages, it all feels special and we have a lovely time together with lots of laughs. My younger son is aware of the fact that things are pretty tight these days. He said, “Mommy, I wouldn’t want you to get me a Wii U–I wouldn’t want you to spend that money on me.”
For two years after my mom passed, we found a bird nest in our Christmas tree. It is said to bring good luck. I feel that it connects me with my mom, and those nests are part of decorating the tree each year. I do feel lucky. She did the best she could.