My sister and I were talking one day, reminiscing about Christmas past. I’m sure our memories are way off the mark. Similar to remembering the creek and waterfall on our childhood property. That waterfall was so steep. The big rock that we would sit on at the top and have picnics with the neighborhood friends is now a measly little rock, the creek… a little trickle of a stream. I’m sure someone must have played a mean trick on us. Shrinking the past to make way for the future.
Childhood Christmas was what we lived for throughout the year. Exchange gifts at school. Decorating Christmas cookies with our mom. The smell of the fresh cut tree, wood stove and toys that made the room look like a toy store had thrown up in our living room. Christmas morning rides to our grandmother’s house and then good ole Uncle Joe’s. Making our Christmas tour to the world of family, food and cousin fun! Traditions…. Oh how I love thee. Oh how I miss the road we have traveled.
Now here I am on the other side of it all. I’m the mom and now the grandmother! I love that last part! Traditions have now changed. Loved ones who made that sweet feeling of family are now gone. New members and traditions have taken their place. Aging means letting some things go. Often, we waste time trying to recreate that feeling of the past while throwing out those new opportunities to create new traditions. New memories.
The toy piles are not all that I remember as a kid. I'm sure they too were much smaller. There were only 3 kids in our family…I now have 9! The economy has stolen a part of my ability to give. But how can I really put a price on giving? It’s not about the amount of things that cost money. When the checkbook is low it’s amazing how you learn to be real creative! Learning to make new traditions and laying the ones from the past to rest. Rising later to bring smiles to the hearts of my awesome children. What good is it anyway if I fill their worlds with thrown up toys that break after a week and not give them Jesus? He’s the gift that never goes away, rots or breaks. He’s the gift that changes all that’s selfish and wrong in this big ole world.
Our kids are now growing and moving in different directions. Their time of waiting on the stairs has come and gone. The older ones now share their time with other families who have embraced them as their own. My son who use to say ….ha ha ha the jokes on you …now lives in Israel. Missing his mama’s cooking makes my heart do more flips than I care to admit. He now has to recreate what he longs to experience from his childhood memories, that sweet morning of ham and all the trimmings. Skype conversations about gravy making. I sure do miss that boy! Ha!…I know he misses his mama too! The distance that we now share is good. It grows us, allowing us to see where the real heart of our family is that brings us rest.
The Christmas morning breakfast has now dwindled in numbers. Yes…my heart is drifting to Christmas past. It’s in the learning to let go,that I learn to lean into the new traditions, new ways of giving, new times of being content with the future of my children’s childhood memories.
All the time, money and energy spent just for a few moments of a memory….It’s all an investment in the stories they will tell. Reminiscing with their kids of that special moment in time ,when they sat quietly awaiting their turn to make a memory.