Christmas 2015. At our house. Finally.
We made it. THIS is the year. The year of retirement. After 9 seasons away we’ve returned to Christmas in Coldstream; a dream come true.
With rose coloured glasses firmly (more likely hanging by a thread) in place I’m transported to a cosy place of planning to host a rather grand family Christmas. We will fill our house to the brim with cousins, siblings, sons and daughters. The cousins will don their new colour coordinated jammies continuing the tradition passed down from my own Omie.
I’m not my Omie. I don’t have her patience, her baking and cooking skills, her ability to sit quietly in the corner. I do however; fret, have hot flashes, snap at my oldest when he butts into my kitchen (even if he is a better cook than me).
I don’t follow a straight line. Plans that are clear to me may need interpreting for others. “Connect the dots” is a favourite phrase of my dear spouse. What do you mean I’m random? Sheesh!
Apparently I have a tendency to pounce on people with my opinions before they even come in the front door. Pounce/Welcome…semantics! And lately, well lately, I’ve become obsessed with shutting cupboard doors and turning off lights.
Oh. My. Word.
It’s time for memories to collide with new experiences. Does that sound a bit violent to anyone else? Change is messy, eh?
Carol’s Christmas… what is it exactly?
While I don’t make most of Omie’s recipes (I buy, not bake fruitcake) I do make my mom’s Christmas Cookie Logs. This crispy cookie with the nutmeg sprinkled frosting is a regular part of my Christmas baking tradition. And the stuffing. Ours is a meat stuffing. The more pork sausage the better. My mom makes it best. I’m getting close, although my kids still like Grandma’s better.
Our grandkids have a Papa. Papa Jim to be exact! (Truth be told they all have at least 3 grandpas, such is the experience of the blended family.) I never had a papa. Not one. Both died before I was born. Papas make a difference.
What if our new memories include:
- squishing too many people around the table;
- two different table clothes to cover the sheet of plywood Papa put over the regular dining table so we could all fit. No kids table at this house (yet);
- doors and windows open even though it’s below zero and there’s snow outside. Grandma and those hot flashes;
- Papa’s mashed yams with roasted marshmallows on top;
- Auntie Jen and her fake chicken;
- a Christmas tree that is two sizes too small;
- a dash of grumpy grandma along with good cheer?
The thing is I can’t manipulate new memories. Try as I might to re-create the experiences of my own childhood Christmases it never works out that way. There is a sadness in that. I’m learning that it’s ok to acknowledge the ‘sads’. I can’t deny Christmases past, nor can I successfully predict the Christmas that is set to happen in two short days.
What I can do is prepare. Preparation combined with hope.
Hope that our grandchildren will come away with memories that bring them peace, love, and warmth.
Hope that when they are my age, they will look back fondly at Christmases spent at Grandma Carry-all and Papa’s along with their cousins, uncles, aunts, friends and, and, and…
Hope that they will come to believe the words of Linus…
Hope that with each passing year, they will know that with Him, Christ the Lord, Better is always possible.
Merry Christmas to all!