Remember Christmas when you were a child?
If you were lucky, like I, you had several Christmases of pure joy. Your life was complete; everyone you knew and loved was part of the season, right there on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
There was no one missing. You missed no one and nothing. It was all before you.
Every Christmas decoration was pure fun, pure beauty. No pangs of melancholy over the sequined ornament your long-passed grandmother made; no yearly swoon of regret over the dropped ceramic Christmas tree you cherished; no mournfulness over a missing loved one.
No dish you would give almost anything to taste one more time and get the exact recipe for. It was all there, before you, more of it than you could ever eat.
No family picture you wish you'd taken while everyone was there. They were all there and it seemed they always would be, and it was so loud, you couldn't hear yourself think.
No coveted decoration that has since been lost. If it was Christmas, the flocked Santa, sleigh, and reindeer were on the hi-fi. You just assumed your Christmas tree would always look like that, and that certain thing would always be in that certain spot. These days, there isn't even a hi-fi.
No song that brings a tear to your eye or a momentary ache to your heart. All Christmas songs were just songs. "Blue Christmas" was sung the same way as "Jingle Bells;" "I'll Be Home For Christmas" seemed sort of sappy, but you sang along anyway, hoping something snappy like "Rudolph" was next. You heard your mother's Christmas albums ad nauseum.
No sight you would seriously consider giving almost anything to see one more time. Your eyes were heavy and exhausted by all the brilliant, blissful sights of a Christmassy day.
Ahhh, the Christmas of a child. So simple. So simply joyful.
Don't misunderstand; I love my Christmases these days as a mother, with children of my own. I longed to sing carols to my own children one day and to see Christmas lights reflected in their eyes. My dreams have come true, and it is even more than I dreamed it would be.
As I get older . . .
How my heart also aches for people I miss this season and the joy they brought to my life, for a simple Christmas again when my whole world, my whole past, present, and, seemingly, future, were under the same roof.
And when everything was simple . . . or seemed that way.
Oh, to come into my grandmother's house one more time on Christmas Eve and smell all that wonderful food, hear her Nat King Cole record playing, and see her standing at the stove in her apron and slippers. The red bow of her apron ties looked just like a Christmas wrapping . . . and, surely, they were . . . for she was one of the most precious gifts of my lifetime.
And I miss her deeply each and every Christmas now . . . and always will.
I guess I've had a visit from The Ghost of Christmas Past as that is where my heart seems to be today . . . with those in my past; how blessed I am to remember them all.