Where the hell did the time go?! I've been MIA here for a while again. Busy as a little bee I'm afraid, but here I am.
This is a post I took down in the great blog removal...and it's a sad tale with a happy ending. The joyful part is that I've finally and fully reclaimed Christmas. That's something. Life is bittersweet. We'd not appreciate the sweet without the occasional bitter. I truly believe that.
Everything I am today is a direct result of the experiences I have had in this lifetime. What a glorious gift it is to live long enough to let go of the past and embrace the present!
Love and light,
The Christmas Angel
Copyright Margot Potter
When I was a kid, like most kids, I loved Christmas. I loved the lights and the cookies and the sappy songs and the snow and Santa riding down my street on the fire truck and the joy...the joy...the JOY! I loved the joy. I loved trying to stay awake to hear the clickity clack of tiny reindeer hooves as they landed on our roof. I loved waking up at the crack of dawn and begging my parents to let us go downstairs and open presents. I loved opening presents, who the heck doesn’t love opening presents raise your hands?! I didn’t even really care what was inside; I just loved the experience of opening them. I lived in the moment back then. Like most kids, I usually ended up playing with the boxes. Isn’t that just the way?
When I was in first grade someone told me in the cafeteria at lunch that Santa wasn’t real. They were quite serious. It was the vast Santa conspiracy and they were there to let me in on the real deal. I looked at them, blinked twice, smiled and replied with absolute sincerity, “Of course Santa is real. Santa is the love we feel at Christmas time. He’s the spirit of giving. That’s real isn’t it?”
I still feel the exactly same way too, just try to tell me Santa isn’t real. Come on. I double dog dare you.
I’ve always known what was real, though I’ve sometimes allowed myself to forget. People often say Christmas is for kids, and they are right on some levels, but on others they are dead wrong. See...that joy...that joy belongs to all of us. It’s not something that we have to relinquish when we reach adulthood. It’s not about fancy gifts or holiday stress. It’s about the joy. It’s about the return of the light and the end of the darkest days of the year. It’s about hope and faith and love and wonder. At least, that’s how it should be.
Every year, my favorite part of Christmas was decorating the tree. It still is. If I had a bigger house, I’d have more than one tree. I have a collection of vintage glass ornaments and vintage style newer ones. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas. When I was a kid, we had a tree topper that I loved so much I can’t even express it in words. She was beautiful, extraordinary and transcendent. Just holding her in my hands made me feel a sense of total calm and rightness with the world. Honestly in some ways I didn’t want to hand her over to the tree, I loved her that much. Yet, when she went up to the top of our tree she made it shine. She was constructed of wax with fine delicate facial features, flaxen marcelled long hair and a lovely crimped foil skirt of a shade that lived someplace between pink and lavender. I’ve researched her since, she was German. I have no idea how old she was; she may have been new back then. You can find angels similar to her on eBay, but they are nowhere near as extraordinary as our angel. I’m sure she is far more beautiful in my memories than she ever really was. Memories are funny like that.
My parents divorced when I was in first grade. Christmas came and went without gifts or cards or phone calls from my Dad. We didn’t know where he was or if we’d ever see him again and that, my fine friends, was a bitter pill for a kid to swallow. This was the first dent in the joy of Christmas. Yet that Christmas angel was in some small way a bridge back to a time when we were all together, a time when I could be immersed fully in the moment, the magic and the joy. Every year when I held her, I remembered. Even if my memories were filtered through my own personal mythology of the happy family that never actually existed, they were the myths that kept me going.
When I was in 7th grade, we had a very bad year. I won’t get into the details here, because these aren’t only my memories. We had to leave our home right before Christmas. We left our home and our gifts and of course we left our angel because she was at the top of our tree. The Grinch stole our Christmas and he was most definitely not giving it back. We had to throw some small fragments of our lives frantically into black plastic garbage bags and rush off into the unknown and wonder if we’d ever return and know in our heart of hearts that absolutely nothing would ever be the same again.
When we returned everything had indeed changed forever and our beautiful Christmas angel was gone. I never saw her again. I have to admit; when she disappeared another large piece of my joy did too. I have greeted every Christmas since with a slight underlying sadness that I can’t seem to fully erase. I’d like to have my joy back. I see it in my daughter’s eyes as she opens her gifts...and in the simple moments of making other people happy by some small kindness or by getting them the thing they really wanted...which is to be cherished and listened to and loved but that doesn’t really fit in a box so we say it with a present...the present...the moment that’s real...and that joy, the joy of giving is mighty powerful stuff. Yet if I’m honest I must admit that my joy...my joy is never fully realized.
Every year I try to let go of a little more of the sadness. The sadness that comes from so many of the things I lost along the road of my childhood. Small fragments of the joy...the innocence...the wonder... I am ever hopeful that one day, I will be able to open my heart up fully to let the joy back in and let go of the sorrow completely*. I am ever hopeful.
The joy and the sorrow, the pleasure and the pain, the laughter and the tears...in the Tao they are all the same.
“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” Tom Robbins
*This year, I finally did it! Huzzah!