Friday, December 12, 2014

Counting Christmases . . .


I have always loved Christmas. The other day it occurred to me how few Christmases we have to enjoy in a lifetime. I lump Thanksgiving in too, because both holidays are for celebrating time with loved ones, great food, laughs and memories. And that’s special and important, right? But do we really appreciate Christmas as much as we should?

Let’s say we live to be 100, just to make things simpler. That would mean that out of the 36,500 days we walk the earth, there are only 100 Christmases (and most of us are going to have a lot less). Just 100 days or however many our lifetime allows. That doesn’t seem like enough to me and it’s kind of sad.

We can’t spend those 100 Christmases with all our loved ones. First, our parents and grandparents already used up a lot of their Christmases before we were even born. That means we might be lucky enough to share about 50 or 60 Christmases with them. By the time our children are born, we have already used up a chunk of our Christmases, so we may have 50 or 60 left to spend with them. There is going to be some overlap when we can have both our parents and our children with us for Christmas, those will be fewer yet.

All this calculating made me realize how much more precious these holidays are to me. My parents are long gone. I can't share any more Christmases with them. I can’t bring them their favorite jumbo shrimp or pignole cookies that they were too frugal to buy for themselves. I can’t hear my mom telling everyone how her cooking is better than mine or how beautiful my girls are. I can’t hear my father’s laughter as he hugs and kisses his only grandchildren on the cheek. Those Christmases are gone.

My girls are still living at home. They aren’t babies any more, those Christmases are gone. I try to pretend they are as excited about Christmas as they were when they were young children and still believed in Santa. I try to buy gifts that will surprise them, which gets more difficult every year. They don’t get us up at the crack of dawn any more. Now my husband and I are up early and the girls sleep in. There is none of the anticipation about what is in the colorfully wrapped packages. They know they will find items they put on their “list.” No real surprises. Now, we even wait for my brother to arrive and we all open our gifts together, not first thing in the morning. We make the most of the day, while our parents are noticeably missing from the conversation. We reminisce about Christmases past. That’s all we can do.

Better cherish each Christmas we are given. Time with our loved ones is the real gift of Christmas. There is never enough time to spend with those you love, and there are never going to be enough Christmases for me.

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