I don’t remember when I first “found out” about Santa, but I do know that I kept on pretending long after that day. Part of it was because I didn’t want to stop believing in something so magical and fun, and part of it was because I didn’t want my mom to be bummed.
She was always incredible about keeping the magic alive, wrapping the gifts in different paper, writing in different handwriting, putting reindeer food on the deck, etc. There isn’t a Christmas from my early childhood that I don’t remember being special in some way. Along with traditions and large family gatherings, I also had that youthful innocence that made everything seem merry and bright.
Now, at age 31, I have to admit that I’ve become a bit cynical about the holidays.
Between the loss of traditions and large family gatherings, the rampant and unnecessary consumerism, no holiday break, a dash of deep depression and being forced to listen to “So This Is Christmas” while waiting in the doctor’s office, I would much rather just skip to January 2 when (relative) normalcy can reoccur.
I know, I know. Ba humbug.
But last Saturday night my mom was at it again, this time at the home with the old people. She came armed with two strings of colored lights, two dozen foam ornaments/treat bags I made the night before and a few other decorative things.
More arts and crap.
My grandma, stuck in her bed and out of her mind, delighted in the simple addition of one string of lights to her window, to the new snowman candy dish, to the battery-operated candle, to our off-key duet of “Jingle Bells” complete with (requested and stereotypical Polish white girl) dance moves.
And so was Jerry, the man who lives in the room right next door to my grandma.
His room, stark and empty in contrast to that of my grandma’s, soon was adorned with one string of lights, a battery-operated candle and a foam wreath and gingerbread man (he didn’t request the duet.) The look on his face—usually stoic and hard—was enough to make all spirits bright.
He had us move his wheelchair to the center of the room and turn off the lamp so he could sit there and stare at the lights, and he kept telling us how wonderful it was, how happy that string of lights made him. As we walked out the door and back into the hall, I couldn’t have agreed with him more.
Young or old, the magic’s still there as long as you choose to believe.*
*Off-key duet of “Jingle Bells” complete with stereotypical Polish white girl dance moves not required, but I’m pretty sure it couldn’t hurt.
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