The Fish has arrived. Let the holidays begin.
I am not really looking forward to the holidays. I really don’t ever look forward to them anymore. It is funny how when you grow up, all that magic that you used to associate with certain days of the year, kind of vanishes. It isn’t the same as it was all those years ago. When FH and I stayed up until all hours of the night wondering and giggling about what would be under the tree when we woke up. Just biding our time until we could run into Mom and Dad’s room, bright-eyed and bushy tailed and drag them out of bed and down the stairs to the living room to begin tearing into the gifts. Ripping with fury at the shiny paper that Mom so carefully wrapped around the small boxes and big ones alike. Building a mountain of paper and ribbons, while Mom and Dad tried to follow behind us with trash bags to tear them down.
All that anticipation. Then the excitement of finding that, inside one of those boxes wrapped with care, there was the one thing I thought I couldn’t live without. The one thing that I had been pining over for months and there it was, with a big red ribbon and a card from Santa (a.k.a. Mom). Then, at the end of the day there was a meal prepared by various members of the family and a birthday cake for me (usually shaped like a Christmas tree) and then more gifts. To celebrate me. Just me. And then the day was over. And the next day, I knew I had to wait a whole year to have that kind of fun again.
Now, it is a day off from work. I drive to Mom’s in the morning. She is already awake (now I think she waits for ME). She has the coffee ready. We open presents, just as beautifully packaged. Just as filled with a mother’s love. Just as we always have. But something is missing. Spirit, maybe.
I have to say…I do get choked up when I sit next to my grandfather in church on Christmas Eve and hear that same voice that I have heard singing for as long as I can remember. Only now, his voice is shakier. Sometimes he is hoarse. And there is no Grandma, singing off key on his other side. She is still there, she just sings from Heaven (I am not even sure that there is such a place...but I can't imagine where else a woman so saintly could have ended up) instead. It takes a little more to hear her voice when she misses a note. You have to really listen. FH, Uncle Wog and I still slap each other now and then, just to taunt her. (She would always giggle, but then shush us in the sweetest, trying-no-to-be-amused sort of way). She tried to make us believe that we were being scolded. But you could see that she was just grateful to have us. Misbehaving or not. I think we just misbehaved to see that look on her face. The look of admiration. Of thanks. Of utter and complete Grandma-ness.
Fish Head and I were lucky enough to have the best Grandma EVER.