Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Christmas Story

I walked outside this morning to find fog so thick that I couldn’t see ten feet in front of my face. By the time I had taken a shower it had lifted enough that it was about 10 feet above me. It was like walking under the bases of the clouds I used to fly under. Pretty surreal.

When I was 10 years old I wrote a story about a midnight meeting between myself and Santa Clause on Christmas Eve. I can’t remember all the details but it was centered around how Christmas wasn’t wrapped in presents but was the magic of being with friends and family. It was only a few pages long but I kept it for quite a while. 10 years later I wrote a sequel to it, now from the eyes of a 20-year old college student. This one was considerably longer, with my concerns being that the magic that he had described was leaving me because of the vast separation that had split my family apart—my grandparents and aunt had moved to Florida, we had moved to Virginia, and my sister and I had gone off to college. His answer this time was to take me on a journey through the past ala “A Christmas Carol.” We flew through time on his sleigh to my childhood home in a city in Massachusetts, to my grandparent’s house in the same city, and then finally to a more recent one at my grandparent’s house in Florida when I had a conversation with my late sister Jenny as the Christmas bells rang through the night from midnight mass. It still is probably the best writing I have ever done in my life.

I often wonder what Santa would say to me today, more than 10 years after I wrote that story. Christmas at home, or at least the season, brings with it a lot more stress and burden than was there way back then. I have kids of my own now, and it has been years since I have seen my grandmother and aunt. I see my parents every 6 months or so, but for all intents and purposes the holidays for all of us just aren’t the same as they were before. And now this Christmas I won’t be with any of them, my family or extended family. I find myself year after year saying that “next Christmas will be better” since we are always either on the road or rushed at the last minute to try and give the kids whatever they ask Santa for. Last year we were living out of our car since we were moving from Del Rio, TX, to Tucson, AZ over the holiday. I made the mistake then of saying “what a sucky Christmas” to myself while on a stopover at my brother-in-law’s on Christmas Eve. Obviously at the time I didn’t know where I would be this year.

I think it’s a good time for Santa to visit me again.

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