Christmas, a time when we find ourselves asking,
Were our boys happy? Did we have good Christmases?
And we give each other encouragement:
Yes, Love, they were happy. They had good memories of Christmas. We did that right.
And we decorate the tree and avoid the special decorations they made as children, or any with their picture on. We don’t want to be reminded of whose face we will not see, of who will not be opening presents this year.
I know it doesn’t hurt as much as those first few years, but it still hurts. We have created different traditions and we love Christmas Eve with our youngest son. But underneath are the memories of what we used to do, and the places we went and the traditions we once celebrated. And we sleep in Christmas morning so as to avoid the sadness of our memories: the two happy, giggling boys, the grouchy, slouchy adolescents, the compliant young adults, waiting at the doorway to the den.
Aw, mom, really? You’re going to make us wait at the door?
Well, dad has to get the camera ready.
And he did. We have a great camera record of many Christmas mornings. We even transferred them to DVD a couple of years ago. But they were tough to watch, especially for our youngest son, so we put them away for a while.
This year our youngest son is recovering from the end of a relationship. So there is another loss for him to deal with. It will take even more effort to focus on the moment at hand, on the mass at the Cathedral and the Christmas songs, on the dinner with mom and dad. But he needs to, we all need to. This Christmas is what is real, this moment is where we live. Let’s not miss out on anything that is happening now. Today contains tomorrow’s memories, and may they all be bright.