Merry Christmas, however that term holds meaning for you, and Happy Holidays.
I am finding my day away from my family this year. They are only a few minutes down the road, but it is still "away". My eldest daughter has a new family and new traditions to celebrate the day this year, as this is her first Christmas as a young married woman. My youngest, at sixteen is at home with my husband, I am sure playing Half-Life on her new Xbox, wearing her vintage-style motorcycle goggles, rainbow toe socks on her feet, courtesy of what she found under the tree yesterday.
I guess at sixteen, one can be flexible on which day to open presents.
I was not there to witness the unwrapping, as I am hovering over my dad for the next two weeks as he recuperates from open heart surgery. I have a feeling that he'll soon tire of me and kick me out, which is a good thing. He is doing amazingly well. Dad is navigating stairs and doing most routines on his own. When one thinks of the process of open heart surgery, being placed on a heart-lung bypass machine, having parts replaced and plumbing re-routed, keeping the body oxygenated while the heart is temporally turned off until it is zapped back into service...it almost makes the mechanics of the body, well, mechanical. Simple. But as we all know, the body is more complex than that.
So, my Christmas Day is spent back in my childhood home, waking up in my childhood bed. The bed is shorter than I remember, the room my bed now resides in smaller. The night-time sounds are the same, though. The expansion and contraction of the one-hundred year old home are the same as they were when I was a child, only this time I know they are not sounds of secret monsters in my closet or under my bed. The smells are the same, scents that evoke memories spanning forty years. Memories of those no longer inhabiting this space. Memories of my mom.
I awoke early this morning, and still in my jammies snuck downstairs, not to see a Christmas tree and a pile of presents, but to see my Dad, sitting in his easy chair, a cup of coffee on his side table.
"Good morning," he greeted me.
It was the best Christmas present I could have ever received.