Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas Reflections

With each passing year, the memory of those magical Christmas morning of my childhood, dims like the slowly flickering flame of a once magnificent fire. What burned hot, has slowly burned down to mere glowing embers of sensory recall.

It has become increasingly more difficult to paste together the memories of sleepless Christmas Eves anticipating the arrival of Santa Clause, eyes full of wonder when a friend opens the gift I bought at the 99 cent imports store, and the pure joy on Christmas day of playing with my newest Strawberry Shortcake doll.

Bittersweet is the realization that on Christmas morning, I am no longer a little girl.

Instead, Christmas has evolved into something entirely foreign to the eyes of a seven-year old child. Christmas has faded from a burst of color, to take on the blend of a new pastel thread in an already rich tapestry.

Wrapping paper and crumbs from a batch of Christmas cookies still litter my floor, but now the smell of pine evokes an image of last minute Christmas shopping down 5th Avenue, girlfriends in short dresses navigating the bite of a New York winter, clutching scarves and skipping through ice puddles on their way to a cocktail and gift exchange at Pastis.

This year, Christmas Eve’s was my mother reading a book by the light of the Christmas tree, my father preparing Honeybaked ham on the good plates, and my brother whistling Christmas carols in the shower.

On Christmas day, Mom put on all her diamonds and pulled a velvet coat over her satin nightie, sat down at the dining room table, drank a bottle of wine, and assembled a puzzle. Dad buzzed around her with a rag in one hand, clutching a can of Endust in the other. As he worked his way through all the various rooms in the house, I heard him rouse Georg from a deep sleep in front of the television. Low muffles gave away to exchanged laughter. I just hovered in the moment, capturing the sounds, sights and nasal singe of lemon Endust in my memory. I wanted to preserve it for a day I hoped was long off. A day when I wouldn't have them anymore.

Christmas to this maturing woman has become girlfriends calling when I have the time to listen, heavy wool sweaters pulled over rounding belly’s, pajamas at 2:00 in the afternoon on a weekday, dusty board games seeing the light of day, reasons for old friends to see one another, and an abundance of activities to bring you closer to one another.

No longer blazing. No longer magical. But still warm. And still cozy.

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