Saturday, December 3, 2016

Happy Winter Solstice

As I write this, I am reflecting on a year that has been less than stellar in a lot of ways. A lot of good people died. A man will be the next President whom I fear will be a bad fit and cause a lot of problems. I can't help but wonder what the next few years will be like. I can only cling to what I know: my husband, my son and daughter-in-law, my brother and his wife, my mother, my extended family. 

As I write this, one of the last of my uncles is dying. He's actually younger than his older sister, my mother. When I was a little girl we used to visit my grandparents on Sundays. For several years he was living at home and going to college. He had been in the navy, had been a football player in high school and in the navy. When we visited on Sundays, he was usually sitting on a chair with his feet up. I would go over to him and he would put a nickel between his thumb and forefinger and tell me to try to take it out. Of course I never could. Sometimes he let me have the nickel. Sometimes he didn't. He was there for Christmas dinners as were some of my other uncles and aunt. 

I used to enjoy Christmas. I often wondered why my parents didn't. It wasn't such a big thing when they were growing up. They didn't have a load of presents under the tree. There were always lots of presents under our tree, but I was always reminded how lucky I was. Do you really want to hear that constantly when you're a kid? That came from my Dad. He didn't mean to be that way, I realize. He was really a good father in a lot of ways, but I think the whole excesses of the season that he saw after the war ended in 1945 got to him. 

When our son came along, I decided to do things differently. I wasn't always successful. Sometimes I made things more difficult than they should have been. I wanted a storybook Christmas. That's the problem with stories. They aren't true. Yet you start believing them. 

There are some lovely things though. This picture is one of them. When my son was in cub scouts he made this sled ornament out of Popsicle sticks. It's a fairly common craft. What made it special was that "Rosebud" he painted on. I was in one of my period "I adore 'Citizen Kane'" moods and had told him about it. If that seems a little young to some of you, I wanted him to learn about good films even then. He watched a couple of years later. He was still young, but he got it and liked it. It's still one of my favorites. 

So this is one ornament I will NEVER EVER throw away. Maybe I will arrange to have it cremated with me unless Rob wants it. 

Sometimes I talk to young women with their children. I hope they realize how lucky they are. I hope they realize how fleeting it is. I hope they are ABLE to have the time to enjoy their children to the fullest. Because it just goes by so damn fast. One day you're holding a baby in your arms, the next you're taking them to college and the next they are visiting you and helping you with some of the chores that you can't do yourself anymore. I hope my son looks back on his life when I'm not around and remembers more of the good things. 

As for my greeting, I'm feeling contrary. No Merry Christmas for me this year. I'm sticking with Happy Solstice. My cards are going to be a Philadelphia scene with a Happy New Year sentiment. 2016 Has been a crappy year. A lot of good people died. My Uncle John is dying. That will cap off the year although we still have this month to get through. 

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