Holidays are really meant for the childlike or the actual child. What sets these days apart are the festivities, the preparation, the special touches, and the gatherings. The event is food and drink dependent encased in chatter, cheer and joy. However, only an adult with the mind and preferably the body of a child has the energy to pull it all together! When I reached fifty, I had decided to diminish all the hoopla and concentrate on the real meaning of Christmas. This basically was not a change in ideology because I still loved the spirit of the holiday, but rather a wish for more balance between the work to celebrate and the meaning of the celebration. Of course there was also that "age thing" whereby dragging fifteen boxes from the attic and spending about the same number of hours decorating was not realistic. So the plan was to reduce the fattening cookies, the amount of greenery, and replace the gifts and hours of wrapping with shiny gift cards. I would then have more time to contemplate, meditate and pray about the birth of Christ. But then (as I begin most sentences), "S" moved in and the hoopla returned with a vengeance. It looks like Christmas threw up sparkle, glitter and Santas in my home and presently cut outs of bells, trees and stars adorned with frosting and sprinkles tempt my every hunger pain. My clothes are shoved to the corners of my closet to shield toys and gifts for all the grandchildren and await a jacket of paper and bows. I will buy a gift for all of S's teachers to show gratitude for their commitment to my little one and prepare food for her school parties. Relatives witll receive her pre-school picture in the Christmas cards and news of her growth. We will welcome Santa at the mall, the library, the shopping strip next to our home and at local stores while I ponder a large mug of spiked egg nog (kidding, I really never acquired a taste for this drink) and a good night's sleep (not kidding about this). Excitement will grow with anticipation of his visit and my anxiety will equally increase as the 25th gets closer and there is still so much to do. As I steal a moment to reflect, I become frustrated with the thought that I have lost the real meaning once again with "tired" as my mantra rather than "joy". But then I tuck S in at night after a nightime prayer, and I realize that this season is about sharing and caring. I am doing that everyday of the year by my care of this child, so I may be wary, but I am living the spirit of this season through the sparkling eyes of a child and the limbs of an old, but wide-eyed woman....
Garden Ridge, Texas