Tuesday, December 25, 2007

So who told me that I could turn off the magic?

It's Christmas morning, and all's well. Got through Christmas Eve -- the last minute shopping frenzy, the food prep for today; and no, I've not yet begun the wrapping process, but I'm ready.

The depression and rejection of all things Christmas came to a crashing end when I picked Dorian up at her apartment across town yesterday. She was carrying her precious packages of God-knows-what for friends and family. The excitement on her face was contagious. She lives all year for this day, and no all-powerful Mom was going to take it away on the pretext of common sense and rationality. Maybe Christmas isn't supposed to "make sense."

She'd fashioned beads and wire and tempura and bits of cloth and tongue depressers -- into loving gifts that made her own particular kind of sense. The wrappings were colorful and clumsy and tied up with bright ribbons with strangely-shaped bows and sometimes not ... .

I felt better. But could I tell her that we would skip trimming a tree this year? How?

But it got better.

First stop Supermarket. With all resistance put down (at least until later), I now feared that all of the trees would be gone and that -- now that I was ready -- I'd have to explain to her why I'd waited until it was too late? This would be a first and I knew that she lacked the capacity to understand how such an unthinkable thing could have happened.

We pulled up to the front of the supermarket and there -- as I remembered -- were the trees that were marked "$39.99 and up" only yesterday. I was ready to buy -- the spirit of Christmas and her look of happy anticipation had crushed all else.

As I pulled up to the curb where the trees were on display I asked only one thing, "...can you load one on my car for us?" The clerk grinned and said, "no, lady. We can't do that -- questions of liability, you know." And, no, I didn't know. A flicker of a tiny shadow of doubt returned for just an instant. This was followed by, "...if you'll open up the hatchback I'll help you slide it in. I believe it will fit nicely." And, "they're all free today, you know," he grinned as I offered my credit card.

Suddenly the magic had returned. The clerk saw the surprise and delight on my face and was thoroughly enjoying it. I would surely not be the first today to learn of the generosity. He may have remembered me and my sadness from yesterday.

After dropping Dorrie off at home with the tree that we'd happily lugged up the stairs without help, I returned to the Mall to complete gift-buying along with the Christmas Eve crowds. It felt different; less like greed and wastefulness and more like love and sharing. It's a heart thing, maybe... as advertised.

Dorian spent last night dragging out the boxes of ornaments and happily draped the lights, hung the bright varied and aged shapes; replaced dead light bulbs; sang familiar carols badly along with the radio while I candied the yams and readied the other side dishes for today. Everyone will be home; except for son, Rick, whose far too-early death still enshrouds the season. But I'm thinking that this may well be the last of the grieving. Maybe the gift of a 7 ft. tall evergreen from an unknowing corporate entity did the trick.

Who would have guessed?

Merry Christmas!

Betty and Dorian