Ah, the Christmas spirit. When I was young, it was wrapping presents and listening to Bing Crosby on our Grafonola and reading the Bernstein Bears’ Christmas Tree over and over. And how I wish it was still that. Now it’s drawing names and price ranges and checking off lists and coveting. Yes, coveting. So hard to shop for others without finding something for myself. Did I say hard? I meant impossible (yes, I got this season’s Victoria’s Secret catalog).
Sometimes I miss my childish innocence. When I didn’t know that we were poor and thought my piano teacher really would love this plastic music note ornament that I pulled out of an 8-pack that cost $1. When caroling was festive, not corny. I believe back then I actually uttered the phrase, “reason for the season.” Yikes. Scary how over the top I was then, but scarier still how cynical I’ve become.
Adulthood changes us – sometimes slowly, in my case, rapidly. Nothing like bills and drinking too much and meeting too many people I couldn’t see any good in to sour a disposition. When I was young, I was blissfully unaware of the chaos around me. Now I’m painfully aware. Sometimes I even predict it. And that shy, naïve girl is such a distant memory, sometimes I forget that she was ever me. It’s like one of those memories people relay to you over and over until you convince yourself you remember it happening, but never really do.
It’s almost as if, looking at me now, I’ve tried to become the opposite of my younger self to convince myself I’ve always been strong and independent, and have never been vulnerable or sensitive or small.
But there are still those moments to remind me that I was and still am. Like last night when I felt my eyes tear up when I neared the end of a young adult chapter book and quickly wiped those tears away. Like when I get giddy hearing the first of the Christmas songs in stores and hope to hear Bing Crosby next. Like my elation when I found that old copy of Bernstein Bears’ Christmas Tree on eBay for Gracie.
There are those times. Just moments now, not the bulk of my personality by any means. But moments I remind myself we choose who we become and people can change for not only the worse, but also the better. And there are moments when I do see good in people and think, there’s hope for all of us. Even Scrooge had a change of heart.