Your Every Christmas Wish

603733_10200837417355233_1874374034_nWhen I was little, I could fill myself with the feeling of Christmas by lying in bed in the glow of the orange window lights. The bulbs were hot, so hot that we had to be very careful to keep the shades hight above them, and the curtains fully open.  The warm orange glow was so different from the usual pale nightlight glow that as we fell asleep, my sister and I would feel as if we were being wrapped in magic.  I can still conjure the feeling of drifting to sleep with my face turned toward that orange, orange light. Waiting for Santa and for the magic of Christmas morning.

As I got a little bit older, into my teens, I learned to lie on the rug with all of the lamps in the room off. I would lie as close to the Christmas tree as I could, after turning all of its big bright colored lights on. I’d look up into the branches and squint my eyes a bit. The fat, bright lights would reflect in the long silvery strands of tinsel and I would get that feeling in my stomach; that “Christmas” feeling.  I’d think about what gift I might get (new albums by Joan Baez, Fleetwood Mac, Judy Collins were high on my list).  I would be filled with giddy anticipation and that magic feeling would flood me again.

Then I became a Mom. Christmas was more magical than ever.  That feeling, that magical Christmas feeling was all about them.  I could fill myself with the magical feeling of Christmas by looking at their beautiful eyes, reflecting the glowing lights of our tree. Motherhood is magic; Motherhood on Christmas morning is indescribable.

Now they’re all grown up.  Our familiar fake spruce tree is long gone.  I sit here alone in my quiet house, resting up a bit before the big family celebrations begin.  I’m thinking about later tonight, and tomorrow morning. I’m thinking about the few hours when I can gather all of them around me, my beautiful daughter and her smiley eyed husband, my two handsome sons, my husband.  I think about “that Christmas feeling”, and how much I’m looking forward to holding it close.  Tomorrow that feeling will come when there is a moment with all of us in this room.  There will be half filled coffee cups everywhere, and piles of wrapping paper on the floor.  The house will smell of bacon, and the dogs will be watching eagerly for a crumb to fall. Paul will be wrapped in a blanket, dozing a bit.  I’ll stand in the dining room for a minute. I’ll look around the room.  I’ll stand where I can see all of them, all of their familiar faces.  The conversation will be completely casual, about nothing much.  Someone will say something funny, like they always do, and everyone will laugh together.  I’ll wipe my hands on my apron, look from face to sweet face, and laugh along with them.

I’ll be filled once again with the magical orange light and sparkly tinsel feelings of Christmas.

An ending

SONY DSCThe golden days of autumn are almost gone.  The leaves lie crushed and brown on the grass now, no longer clinging to the hope of one more day, one more breeze, one more morning of life.

There is frost on the grass, sparkling in the faded sunlight.

Another season gone. Another harvest past. Another winter approaching.

I’m inside the house, wrapped in fleece.  I am folding clothes, still warm from the dryer.  I press a shirt to my face, breathing in the clean hot smell.  My eyes are drawn out the window, into the yard.  I look past the fence, past the hedges that grow there now. My focus is on the past, on the yard as it used to be.

I see my boys, running in the grass.  I hear the sound of a tennis ball, bouncing off the siding, and the sweet young voices that cheer each other on. My cheek rests for a moment on the soft blue towel in my hands.  I see a little sweater, tiny socks, remembering how it felt to fold each one softly into its proper drawer.

Another holiday season ahead.  Another year of pies and cranberries and visits.   For the first time in 27 years, we won’t have any of my children home to celebrate with us. I understand the pressures of jobs and new families and new responsibilities.  I harbor no grudges, because I know that I will see them soon, that we all still love and cherish other. I know that I am lucky in far more ways than I can count.

Still, my eyes are drawn out the window, and into the past. I see the little handprint turkeys, the pipe cleaners and pinecones that stood proudly on the table.  I hear those voices laughing, and asking for more dessert. I see little arms reaching to hug Grampa sitting at the head of the table.

I am sad.