Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Past and Present

In all my bah humbug holiday spirit, I’m going to miss my three oldest kids. 

Actually, they aren’t kids anymore.  All grown up with families of their own.
Scattered about the country.

Celebrating Christmas in their own homes.

Bah humbug.

They say that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I don’t know who “they” are, but I wonder.

My childhood holidays were spent in my grandparents farm house.  Most all family members were there, maybe with the exception of my cousins who lived in Nevada. I always thought there was something exotic and mysterious to have cousins who lived in another state so far away. 

Being in Iowa seemed small, safe, predictable.  Comforting to me as a child.  And crowded.  With my 23 cousins, plus or minus a few.

Our Christmas’ were loud, messy.  Filled with unrestrained chaos.  And fun.

Men at the card table playing Euchre, cigarette smoke curling up through the air, an uncle occasionally reaching out and grabbing some cousin sprinting by, ordering him to stop running.

Clinking and clattering kitchen sounds of women cooking in their flour smeared aprons, sauteing, whipping, slicing up the foods that we soon would devour.

Younger cousins fighting and bickering over what christmas songs they were going to sing for the unattentive adults.

Bored older cousins slumped on sofas looking through the stack of Life magazines, wishing they were anywhere but there.

Winter coats piled four feet high on my grandparent’s bed, inviting hide and seekers.

And the anticipation of the contents of the dozens and dozens and dozens of small, colorful packages filled with homemade gifts, mittens, socks, sweaters, Woolworth necklaces, dime store toys, scarves, cigars, meat and cheese gift baskets.

... feels like 3 lifetimes ago.


And yet the “more things change, the more they stay the same.”

The men no longer smoke but gather in living rooms to watch football games.

Bickering kids fight over which video game they are going to play.

Bored teens text their friends.

Women follow recipes on their IPads.

The same and yet

not the same

we are linked together

but oh 

so far apart

scattered across the 50 states, that no longer hold childhood mystery

The Holiday may be the same but the celebration with my family has changed. 

Bah humbug.

I miss it.

And I will miss these three kids this Holiday.

Best to you and yours,
missing the mom gene