After the christmas holidays I get feelings ranging from depression to relief that it has come and gone and that somehow the stress and excitement of it all did not kill me. I neither hate, nor love the Christmas holidays, but look at them as something that must be endured, because there will always be children in my family and it is truly a children’s time of wonderment and joy.
Every year after Christmas day I say that I am not going to go through the hassle of transforming my place both inside and out into a Christmas theme by putting on outside lights and decorations, and putting up a tree, and laying out the divinity scene, buying and wrapping gifts and pretending there is a Santa Clause in the new year to come and every year I make a liar out of myself and transform everything for my grandchildren and try to give them the best Christmas ever.
I do not go out anymore for New Years Eve celebrations. I find that they have become extremely costly and I got tired of shaking hands and kissing strangers. I think in part that I do not go to these things anymore because I stopped drinking and I find these gatherings of people well on their way to intoxication a little hard to take. I guess I just do not get sufficiently in the mood to enjoy the sound of all the loud noises and things being blown in ones face, the hugs and all that happens at the midnight hour at these things, leaving people wondering five minutes later why they are out here doing what they are doing. I will not deny anyone else the pleasure of these celebrations though and answer the phone when family and friends call at midnight with a hearty Happy New Year. I would go back to drinking, but my vague memory of waking up with a hangover does not appeal to me. I guess it has been too many years since I had a hangover and the consequences of drinking were too great and the cost far too high in human suffering. I guess I will have to remain at home on New Years Eve and just eat chinese food, watch the ball drop on tv and fore go the hugging and kissing of people that I would never hug or kiss at any other time.
Most years I suffer quietly feeling alone after my kids and grandchildren have all left. The eating done, the noise of children laughing and playing gone and the house quiet. I allow the tree and all the decorations to remain in place as if doing that will allow me to hold onto the moment that was Christmas and all too quickly becoming a bitter-sweet memory and for a few days it works. For a few days I look at the tree, or the still decorated hallway, or the stockings still hanging on the door although empty now and I hear children playing, adults laughing and I smile, savoring their quickly fading essence, knowing that in the days to come I will hear them less and less until not hearing them at all I will remove every decoration and say to myself I will not bother with all of this again next Christmas.
This year however I got a special treat and got to spend extra time with 3 of my 4 grandchildren after the Christmas holidays. It seems that GrandPa has become the official babysitter of baby Liam and Courteney and Terryell have decided that they like spending time at GrandPa’s house. Twice in the same week I have had them over night and it has helped me through what usually is a kind of lonely, anti climax sort of time for me. I got to play again, give council again, bathe my grandson again and just hold and shower them with love all over again and I felt loved again.
I feel like as long as these little persons are in my life that I am needed, that I am strong and together we will live and share and make the world a better place for each other. They are my source of strength, they are the well from which I draw my daily bucket of happiness and they are the ones who never tire of listening to an old mans tales. They still need me as much as I need them and they are my salvation when again another Christmas holiday season comes to and end.
We play a lot, we get dressed when we feel like it and we try just to have a good time. We talk, we go for walks and we watch all of our favorite tv shows and movies. We read books, we draw pictures and color in coloring books and we play on the floor with cars. We dance and sing songs and we count and do our a b cees. We take naps, we eat what we like and generally have no rules except one; we always, always try to have fun.
Yes thanks to these little children an old guy gets to give and receive the gift of love and feels blessed, at a time when for the most part he would have felt a little sad, a little depressed and a little alone.