Sunday, December 27, 2015

Not Over Yet

Riding past the empty Christmas tree lot yesterday with 4-year old Zadie, I commented, “Aww! No more trees. Christmas is over. “ Zadie replied, “Christmas isn’t over!” and I stifled my impulse to correct her. “You’re right, “ I said. “It’s still here as long as we feel the spirit.”

I love that the opening of the presents was not the main event of Christmas in her 4-year old mind, just part of the whole sweep of events and feelings and spirit in the air. In fact, Zadie slept at her Aunt Talia’s house on Christmas Eve and in the morning, was in no hurry to rush over to open presents. She suggested they first enjoy a leisurely morning smoothie sitting in the sun on the couch. When we did finally gather around for the present-opening ritual, she first reached into her stocking and pulled out a green leaf. It was supposed to be attached to our customary mandarin orange, but she just got the leaf. Jokingly, we exclaimed, “Wow! Zadie! Santa gave you a leaf!” and she seemed thrilled. As was I when I opened her present to me. A plastic air-filled piece of bubble wrap she grabbed from one of the packages. “Pop it, Pop-Pop!” she poetically commanded and I did and we all got the thrill of little explosion. A leaf and bubble wrap! Christmas was going great!!

Not that she wasn’t wholly aware of her wishes and desires and the extent they were fulfilled. She did ask Santa for a sparkly dress all the way to her toes and later commented that it only went to her ankles. But in the big picture, the spirit trumped the material goods and though it’s wholly un-American, I’m proud that she has not yet caught the virus of consumption. In her world, Christmas is not about stuff, it’s about visiting Pop-pop and Mima and Tita and San Francisco and looking at the lights and houses and singing around the piano and decorating cookies and hanging up her drawings around our house and riding her Mom’s old bike with training wheels, the whole nine-yards of sights and sounds and smells and smiles. So indeed, just because the calendar reads December 26th and the presents are opened and the tree lot is empty, there’s no reason whatsoever to say “Christmas is over.” Grown-ups are just so weird.

Of course, in all of Spain and Latin America and more, Christmas is only the first day of 12 and in some places, Epiphany (Three Kings Day) on January 6th is the bigger holiday. But that’s just my adult mind trying to educate. Zadie mostly had it right. 

But since she went home this morning, in my heart, Christmas is over. There’s still lights in the city, the temperature is a rare wintry 42 degrees, our tree still sits in the living room. But without Zadie here to bring it fully to life, it just ain’t the same.

On to New Year’s!

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