Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ghosts of Christmases Past

How strange to sleep ‘til nine o’clock on Christmas morning. Time was when you couldn’t nap past sunrise at our house on Dec.25th. Shiny eyed, excited munchkins would insinuate themselves into the bed with us and whisper that, even though it was still dark, it must be time to get up since Santa’d been, as evidenced by the empty glass and the plate of nothing-but-crumbs. And most of all by the intriguing packages he’d left under the tree. They’d already investigated the contents of their stockings and could hardly wait for the big stuff. But they knew the rules. Those pesky rules. So everyone could share in the fun, you weren’t allowed to open your presents until all were awake, and at least semi-coherent. Their father said it would strengthen their character.

When said father had been provided with a cup of strong tea or coffee, and was ready to preside, the ritual began. They vied with one another to be the one to pass out the presents.Each one had a turn. We all waited while each present was opened and oohed over. Or surreptiouslyly booed. Clothing items were low on the popularity list, no matter how painstakingly selected by their grandmother. The Bean, being the youngest, despaired of ever getting “his turn to pass out!”

And now the morning is slipping away and he is still passed out. Not excited to get up and find that, contrary to his explicit wish, Santa did not gather his siblings from the four corners and assemble them under the tree, all tied up prettily with ribbons and bows.

Christmas is not so much about presents as about presence. The presence of people you love. Christmas makes me long to be around the people who know me best and love me still…………Just for Christmas, I want them all here, for my sake as much as for their “little” brother’s. I want the chatter, the arguing, the clash of opposing opinions, the hum in the air, the energy. I want to have to put the extensions on the dining room table. I want to have to round up extra chairs. I can handle the chaos in the kitchen, the mess of dishes. No problem.

But “to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Not to mention thousands of miles. I guess my season for munchkins at daybreak is over. I put my time in, and in my saner moments I know I wouldn’t want to go back. Not unless I went, armed once again, with youth and energy and lots and lots of stamina!

We had a very pleasant day. The OC is home. He even devised a surprise for the Bean that kept him happily busy for most of the afternoon. Under the heading of “some assembly required!” We are grateful to Mr. Alexander Graham Bell on whose ingenious invention we spent a good portion of the day, yakking ---to Columbus, California and Ireland. We didn’t have to shovel any snow. The sky was blue, the air balmy.

All is calm, all is bright.

Round yon virgin mother and child,
Holy Infant so tender and mild,

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Slee-eep in hea-ven-ly peace.


meggie said...

Family is always the best part of any gathering. Especially our 'babies' Molly!
I had one son & our daughter, plus grandchildren so cant complain. We took advantage of the telephone too.

Lukey Barlow said...

"Christmas is not so much about presents as sbout presence." How true!

Merry Christmas, Molly! I didn't send cards -- yet -- but I have yours on my mantle (okay, on the kitchen pass-through). XO Lukey

Anonymous said...

I loved the wish for gentle words that you made on your previous post. Your gentle words have expressed beautifully your longing for togetherness at this time of year.

Lanne said...

I have a four year. I am all too aware that I about about 1/3 of the way through the thrills of christmas morning. I was woken by him at 2am.. with a loud announcement - Oh Boy that Santa sure is quick. mmm isn't he. After that it was overexcitment, hushing.. muffled sleep from Daddy, kicking from the child as I tried to get him to snuggle in and sleep in our bed. Noise. Loud wonderings about what was in the parcel and had a wooden train set been delivered .. in THOSE parcels? Would they fit.. 4:30am he wet the bed (his thankfully) and we all got up. Coffee was indeed required. I am only too aware that I wont have this joy for much longer, and enjoy every second. Merry Christmas. Hope the Bean is OK after his accident!

Molly said...

Thank you all for your "gentle words!" And Lanne, i wish I could click over and read your blog---if you have one? I'd also like to know how your mom reacted to the reindeer droppings---hopefully she's still talking to you!

Stomper Girl said...

Happy Christmas to you Molly. I had mine with brother and sister for the first time in maybe 15 years or more, it was comforting to be in their presence.