Literally on the eve of Christmas Day and there is wonderment in the minds of the little ones with their excitement awaiting jolly Santa’s arrival. For some of us adults though, the joy and jolly seems far removed from what it once was. Perhaps this is an empty nester phenomenon for me.
Back in the days when my children were young, we had a tradition of putting up the Christmas tree and decorating it on the first of December. That was until my third child came into the world on December 1st. So consequently from then on we kept his birthday solely for celebrating him being in our family. Another day of December was selected for assembling the tree with all its baubles and tinsel.
To this day, even though my son no longer lives at home and has his own little family, I cannot bring myself to undertake any Christmas decorating on his birthday.
Not ready for it
This year, like the last one, there is little semblance of Christmas in our home. No tree and only a handful of tinsel decorations hanging across the thick exposed beam in the dining area where most of the family congregate.
Handmade items my kids had made so many years ago when they were in school hang from the ends of curtain rods and stand across the top of the timber cabinet against the wall. They are little treasures for me.
Memories of them excitedly bringing them out from under the tree Christmas morning, all wrapped in their hand-painted wrapping paper warm my heart. I love and cherish every single one. It has given me great delight to tell my grandchildren that their mum or dad made those pieces.
I suppose that in itself brings me the joyous part of this season; the memories and being able to share them with the next generation. I do hope to experience more joy tomorrow when we spend time with the grandkids and see their excited little faces.
Children are the key
A recollection just sprang to mind; something that was told to me many moons ago. ‘Children make Christmas’. It is so very true.
Why is it difficult for us adults to experience the same magical excitement that children do? What is jolly about Christmas day once you no longer have kids running around squealing with delight and no wrapping paper strewn all across the lounge room floor?
How can one feel the exhilaration when there are only two of us at home by ourselves and one has Asperger’s?
Jolly is in hiding
Try as I may, this lead up to Christmas has not felt like I was in the midst of the festive season. Anyone I have spoken to has also stated that it does not feel like Christmas. Did it just come around way too fast so we didn’t have the hype and build-up of enthusiasm for it?
So much has been happening in my days and there are so many people I personally know that are missing loved ones this Christmas. Perhaps that is what has dulled down the former jolliness one once felt at this time of year; exhaustion coupled with my growing empathic nature.
Missing loved ones
Feeling deep emotions for the special someone who does not have her mum here this Christmas for the first time is on my mind. Then there is another special someone who will spend the first Christmas without his grandfather. Another beautiful lady does not have her dad with them this Christmas for the first time. Then there are the immediate family members that departed this life in the space of a couple of months during the year; the Pop, the aunt and the cousin. Personally I have been missing my dear old Dad very much.
Also I wish I could be in another state to see my youngest son. This Christmas is the seventh one I have not been able to spend with him. I understand he is not able to travel back for it and I do hope he understands why I have not been able to travel there to be with him. Needless to say though, this provides very little consolation when I am pining to see him and at a time when families usually converges.
It is not always as it seems
I have been mindful to avoid as much as possible the online photos and posts people put up about Christmas where their families appear all wonderfully happy and perfect. The day no doubt will be saturated with images portraying a glimpse of what looks like incredibly close families having an amazing time. For the ones who truly have that, I am happy for them; a remarkable achievement.
However, despite the phrase ‘A picture paints a thousand words’, I believe there is another two thousand words that are untold. What goes on in the background during the course of the celebrations? How many people have niggling little issues with one another they are tucking away for the day or trying hard to? Which person is smiling regardless, even though they are carrying a broken heart? Who is missing on the day that everyone is deeply sad about?
So much of the story is not conveyed in a single picture. It is a snapshot in time of the best of the moments, not the worst. Have you seen photos of the old man sitting at home alone with no-one visiting him or the lady in the nursing home whose family live far away and won’t be seeing her on Christmas day? Do you see photos of the unwell, the homeless and the frail having a less than grand ol’ day?
For one day, we want the illusion that all is well within our worlds, within our families. The one day of the year we wish for it to be special and magical and dare I say full of jolly. We do our best to make it as lovely as possible when the day arrives. Hope, happiness, faith, joy and excitement we aim to fill our day with. Negative emotions and feelings are pushed hard to the side so as not to tarnish this day that is to be the ultimate day of togetherness.
Christmas day has arrived
I saw the arrival of Christmas day as the clock hands ticked passed midnight and a few hours later, I am out of bed, like an excited child. This house is silent, there is no little people running to see what Santa has left them. The other human resident is still sleeping whilst the canine one is sprinting around the backyard enjoying the coolness of the morning air. The sun is lifting its head above the rooftops of the neighbouring houses.
When I awoke so early, my immediate thoughts were that I have time to get to my desk, check my email for my last assignment and perhaps even complete it before the remainder of the day begins. That evoked the first of many I hope, exciting moments for the day.
It shall be a long day now yet it can be a joyous one. I feel a sense of relief and achievement for completing the writing course amidst the chaos of the last month of the calendar year. I did it and that can be put aside for now, so I am able to concentrate on the day at hand.
It is time for me to take a deep breath, exhale all my worries, concerns and sadness so I don’t carry it along with me today. The time has come for me to lift the jolly up from the dark depths of within and enjoy the invigorating splendour of this day through the eyes of the children. For they are the ones that make Christmas.