What is Christmas?
From toddler toys to mistletoe kisses to picking out that first tree and hanging baby’s ornament, the brightest moments of bygone Decembers flicker through our minds, each one another warm reminder of how far we’ve come, and how much our perception of Christmas has changed. We grow from receiving to giving, and eventually learn that the only thing we really have to give is the gift of self. And we also learn that sometimes…we aren’t enough.
Well past the age of toys and mistletoe kisses and that first tree, our youngest daughter came and told us the happy news. She was ready to have a baby. My wife cried. I blinked a lot. After all, she was the daughter that wasn’t really sure she ever wanted to be a mother.
That Christmas season was pure fun with heaping piles of fluffy white snow brightening the short days and crackling fires warming the long nights. And lots of fanciful speculations. Would our next grandchild have red hair like his father or blonde like our daughter? Boy or girl? Tall or short? Calm or boisterous? Of course, none of that really mattered. We knew one thing for sure. The child would be beautiful.
The snow soon melted. Purple crocuses sprouted, followed by tall daffodils, and long telephone conversations that always ended with my wife saying, “Sometimes it takes a while, honey. Be patient.” The long days of summer came accompanied by even longer phone calls. “Are you checking your temperature? Have you two been tested?”
The snow returned, and the fire crackled, but that Christmas was less fun, marred by quiet quarrels. Usually, because I asked one question too many, or said something too positive, too hopeful, essentially, too clueless.
As the piles of snow shrunk, so did the length of the phone calls. And every parent of adult children knows what comes next. Silence. The problem might be the tenth job interview, or the twelfth law school application, or the next grandchild, but the solution remains the same, the parent simply must stop asking. Because every question, no matter how gentle, becomes another reminder of something that may never happen, of life that isn’t fair, of a beautiful child that might never be.
As Christmas approached, we decided that our daughter deserved complete and utter silence. And yet, that silence seemed impossible for me to give. Because I wanted to hold my baby girl’s hand, and kiss her forehead, and tell her that it didn’t matter, that she was complete, and beautiful, and perfect, all by herself.
But the impossible is exactly what we gave. No one asked. No one offered. My wife and I hugged a lot. Yet Christmas was fun again. More than fun. Our daughter seemed truly happy. The gift of silence had worked. And Christmas morning was perfect, with all of our children and grandchildren sitting in front of the fireplace, everyone opening presents. As my wife unwrapped another gift, I took a moment and studied my daughter’s face. She was beaming, almost glowing it seemed, and I was so proud of what we’d done for her. Inside the box, my wife found a Christmas card, and inside that card was our daughter’s gift—a sonogram of our new grandchild.
So…. What is Christmas? For my wife and I…forevermore…Christmas is life.
Our wonderful son-in-law caught the moment.
Your next train stop on the indieBRAG Christmas Blog Hop is with Indie author, Martin Crosbie, December 2nd. Just click this link, Martin Crosbie, for your next Yuletide tale.
If you wander off the train, you can always hop back aboard and catch up by going to the indieBRAG home page. Simply click this link, indieBRAG, where you’ll find a message from the indieBRAG Team welcoming you back, as well as the entire Christmas Blog Hop schedule.
Cant’t wait? Still need a bit more holiday cheer today? Check out my September blog entitled Who Needs a Hug? It’s technically not a holiday blog, but it sure made me feel like Christmas came early.
Stream of Consciousness Quote:
“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”-Norman Vincent Peale