When 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.