1. I am not a Christmas person, but I still look forward to it every year. This is mainly because I only get to see my folks once a year. So I’d probably be just as happy having “Christmas” in July – at the beach.
2. This year I will not be able to visit my folks or my sister, and her family, as I always have. This is because Kajsa is now on the transplant list; which is truly a wonderful and miraculous thing. But it keeps us from traveling out of state.
3. Maya is going to visit my family, though. So we will not have her here for Christmas. Now I know how it feels for her dad each year. It doesn’t feel great. But, I want her to still have Christmas in the way that she always has, even if I’m not able to be there.
4. Chris is sad that our family will be split up for the holidays, but has been really pulling for us to begin some holiday traditions of our own anyway. So last night Maya and I went out to K-mart to see what Martha Stewart had to offer us. I wanted to get tasteful decorations that would last for several years. This was much easier to envision of than to apply. We bought a pre-lit garland, a wreath (and jingle bell holder), and cute ornament placemats. When we got home we put it all up and lit some candles. Chris arrived home from class moments later and was happy to see it.
5. My favorite holiday decorative theme is Reindeer. And I don’t mean cheesy stuffed ones. What I like are striking metal or wooden ones. The year I was pregnant with Kajsa, my family went across the street to their [my parents’] neighbors, Ned and Brenda’s house. We all ate and had drinks (hot tea for the preggo lady) and sang songs. Ned plays a mean piano. At one point Brenda pulled out photo copied sheet of paper with John Lennon’s, Imagine, on them. We all sang this together as Ned played piano and my father accompanied him on the guitar. As rough as we all sounded, it was so beautiful. This is now my favorite holiday song. Afterward I wandered into their living room. There by the fire, were a dozen or so handsome reindeer figures and candleholders. They were gorgeous. I look every year for similar ones, but have yet to find any.
6. Speaking of John Lennon, Maya mentioned that it was the 25th anniversary of his death. I knew this. I’m proud that my thirteen year-old knows who he was. I remember the day he was shot. My dad picked Heather (my sister) and I up from school and took us out for pizza. The place that we frequented was in the heart of Little Rock, near a mental hospital. Every time we went there, we would see the same schizophrenic woman rocking back and forth gripping her Bic lighter. This was my first introduction to mental illness. So on that day, we went to Pizza D’action and had a large pie and a pitcher of Dr. Pepper. While we ate, we just kept filling up the jukebox with quarters, playing every Beetles song they had. My dad talked to us about the changes that occurred when his generation was younger. How people questioned the established ways of the world. He talked about The Beetles being the voice of their generation – from I Wanna Hold Your Hand to Come Together. He talked, we listened, the schizophrenic rocked.
7. I would love to have friends over and have a lovely night like we had with my parent’s friends. But I don’t know many people in this small town. Those that I do know are nice, but I don’t know that they would relate to all of that the same way I do.
8. I made gifts to give them though. Last night, I made a whopping batch of Irish Cream Liqueur. It was tasty. I put the liqueur into vibrant, ruby red, glass bottles I’d found for a steal at Pier One. (7 for $12.00 – WOW!)
9. I hope they like them. I wanted to do something original. Sometimes I wish I were a millionaire, so that I could just go around giving people amazing gifts all the time. That would be so rewarding.
10. I haven’t yet talked to Kajsa about Santa. I figure she’ll find out about him, anyway. I found out the bad news about him when I was ten. My sister and I used to fight for who got to sit by the window in the front seat of my dad’s old Dodge Ram Charger. I’d lost that day and was sitting on the hump. When my dad came out of the grocery store, Heather (3&1/2 years younger than I) told my dad that she didn’t think that Santa really existed. He said she was right. The thought had never occurred to me. I quietly cried the whole ride home. So I don’t know if I can handle telling my baby this story. It was easy with Maya, because my mom has always been so into the “magic” of it. But Kajsa’s not being introduced to Christmas the same way Maya was. So, I’m still trying to figure that out. Chris and I will have to have a serious heart to heart about this.
11. Speaking of magical aspects of Christmas. My parents and their friends usually go out on what they call the Tacky Light Tour, each year. I may have talked about this before. But I still cannot get over how awful some of these displays are. However, what’s outside of the van often pales in comparison to what is inside. All parties are lit to begin with. And mind you this does not make them easy to understand. Their southern drawls get longer and longer as the night progresses. Now, I’m all for cultural diversity, and mom thinks I’m just high-falootin’ and snotty, but I honestly can’t understand some of the women by the end of the night. So I smile and nod...smile and nod. Well, everyone is drunk, but the driver, and the women all have on these shirts that reflect every light seen for miles. We’re talking about glittery paint, sequins, and rhinestones all found clumped together on a sea of red. We all celebrate differently, eh? It is truly an unusual evening. I don’t think I could duplicate the experience if I tried.
12. And I don’t want to. But I would love to find a neighborhood with beautiful displays. I don’t know where that is, but perhaps we’ll track one down. My folks always do luminaries. Their whole neighborhood does. It’s so pretty. We generally walk around and just enjoy the simple beauty of it.
13. Gosh, I seem to be talking a lot about my parents in this post. I guess I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. I’m sad that I won’t be with more of my loved ones. But, I’m also glad to have loved one’s here with me. Last year Chris mom was in the ICU. We didn’t know if she’d make it. The year before it was Kajsa in the PICU for a month. Hopefully, this year everyone remains healthy. I think the happy should follow naturally. After all when we have loved ones, we have the opportunity to create traditions. I think that if I approach the holidays with a spirit of love and caring, perhaps I can make traditions that are as special to my children as my parent’s have been for me. And I guess that’s all Chris was really hoping for anyway.
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