When you are in Junior High, friendships are made because of many things, your parents are friends, you live in the same neighborhood, you sit next to each other on the bus or in class and somehow you discover you have certain things in common. In seventh grade, I met a girl that liked to write like me. Usually kids play sports or are in some kind of club and connect that way. But writing is different, it’s not really something that is considered a “kid thing” so it was pretty cool to meet someone that had the same passion… and slowly we began reading each other’s stories. And probably because it was not the normal kind of “kid” connection, I always remembered her and have written about her before here.
Today, because of Facebook, old friendships are being re-newed and we have recently reconnected. To go back with someone that’s shared in your history and remember is sort of magical. In the case of this friendship, we still have writing in common. And today, she proposed that we encourage each other to write prompts. This one is supposed to be about holiday traditions, what we treasure and what we miss as adults.
I know that I have written about knowing just how privileged or perhaps “spoiled” I was being a Mattel Toy’s Executive’s “tester kid” and how the presents were piled ridiculously high around our tree. More so because both my parents were from meager beginnings and I think(that at least my dad) may have tried to make up for what they missed. But it’s funny, because of this prompt, it has made me realize that some of my best memories are not about the most expensive presents but of the times when my mom would take me to the dime store before my dad had “made it” (when money was still tight) and buy one or two pieces for our little dime store nativity set. It started out with the Stable and each week we’d buy another piece. Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus, a sheep or donkey or shepherd or wiseman. And with each piece my mom would teach me about the story of Christmas
The other day, I was in Walmart, in the Christmas section, and ran into one of those little nativites, complete with all of the pieces already packaged in the set. And I am not sure what happened, but I just lost it and had to stand in the corner of the aisle so no one else would see. Maybe it was because my mom died last year and I just miss her. Or maybe I miss how simple it was just being a kid. And how kids really don’t care about the presents in the scheme of things. Sure, I remember a few that stand out in my memory, but mostly I remember the memories that my parents took the time to make with me, and the things under the tree are forgotten. The way my dad would take me Christmas shopping and decorating the tree with my mom, it was those things that mattered to me in the end.
I just realized that in my line of 2018 Christmas greeting cards, I have two cards that say what is in my heart this year. One says: Maybe it’s not about what you can buy at a store… Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.... And… the other says: It’s not about what is under the tree… It’s about who is around it that matters.
This year is going to be very different. I have been out of work and trying to make it with my art business, and some other stuff has come up. And I have realized that ever since my childhood, I have tried to fill my dad’s shoes. Piling presents under all of my trees since I’ve been an adult. Well, this year is going to be a little more like those dime store years, And maybe I had to write about it, to be okay with it, and really believe that maybe it’s not about things you can buy at a store. Maybe Christmas really means a little bit more.