Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Christmas In July

I can't write when I'm sad. Words don't come easily and my thoughts are jumbled. There's a limbo factor involved; an accountability to take control and pull myself out of the funk. Think good thoughts and be positive. I alone claim this responsibility. So today I am glum, but have decided to make lemonade and pull myself out of it one word at time. I'll rely on memory to help me along.

Memories are self editing. They are remarkable windows into a place and time that leave an indelible mark on your soul without out you being completely aware of it at the time. The sharp, jagged corners of pain are ebbed by time and are safe to be around again. Happy, gleeful moments are snapped up, frozen in time with smell, sound and texture to add volume and weight. One such memory that instantly provides me with the contentment that I lack today is Christmas.

Anticipation and excitement hang thick in the air, making it hard to sit still or even finish my meal at the kids' table. Every corner of the room is steeped in laughter and incomprehensible vocabulary to the ears of a young girl. Smells of pine, sage and pumpkin linger as I sit cross-legged on the rug, fingering the heavy weave that blankets the wooden floor. Then a voice whispers in my ear, "Go tell 'em it's time to open presents!" This is what I've been waiting for. It's my cue to initiate the clean-up, take-down portion of the evening. Like little elves, we scamper around with wild, lit eyes telling the grownups, "It's time!" Tables are cleared, folded and chairs pushed back, revealing the oval rug outlined by those about to receive. Gifts are handed out by those old enough to read name tags, and soon, I am surrounded by a mountain of colorful paper bound by scotch tape and ribbon, begging me to free the treasures that lay in wait.

The best loot is always from my Aunts. They are biblical figures in my childhood Christmas memories. They are the wise-women, traveling from afar, bearing gifts more precious than frankincense, gold or myrrh. The whispers had been theirs. The fuel to spark the magical change from adult world to the fantasy universe called Christmas.

Tulle and sequence, that of which I had only admired in the Sears Holiday Catalog, are now mine. "I always wanted to be a ballerina and now I are one!" I exclaim with a four year old command of the English language. I twirl and whirl through the room with the excitement and assuredness of one who has finally had her dreams acknowledged. But there's more. Toys with a million pieces have already been assembled and loaded with the correct voltage to make them come alive...ready for play...no more dreadful wait to follow.

The wise-women had foreseen the spectacle that was to unfold. They had no prior knowledge or experience to guide them, yet they were experts. They still are.

Anyone who knows me well, has heard me speak of them. They are the Mary Poppins figures in my life. They seem to appear out of nowhere, perform their magic and drift away quietly without much fan-fare.

I am making lemonade today because she has left. After an enchanting visit, indulging in tea sandwiches and a swim in the rain, I am sad that she has gone. But, I am left with the sweetness that I will always have my own personal Mary Poppins...doesn't everyone?

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