Page 9 - Scene Magazine 41-12 December 2016
P. 9

The Way I’ve Scene It
   Well, this prom- ises to be the weirdest Christ- mas ever. It is the one I have always dreaded. It comes to each of us in its own time and way.
It is the first year that the sibs and I will face the holiday season without either of our parents, and while I cannot say I am really looking forward to that, I imagine I will live to tell the tale.
I’m stuck. Stuck between wanting to keep everything as close to “nor- mal” as possible and wanting to throw seeds to the wind to see where they sprout. Our parents – our mother most- ly, made Christmas a magical time for us. Steeped with simple traditions that stay in our homes and our hearts to this day, they found a way to make little things seem big. With the passing of our father, the favorite decorations we sought out on the tree each year have been divided amongst us. The fragile, faded turquoise aluminum star is in limbo right now but will travel annual- ly and reside with the one hosting the meal that year. We still want Santa to wrap our presents in white tissue pa- per with our own color of bow on top. We still want Cracker Jacks and gum in our stockings, thank you very much, Margo. We still want Chex Party Mix, thank you, Jennifer, and we still want our brother to make the world’s best salad and wish us all Happy Festivus, thank you Rick. We think we might like to “do Christmas” differently, but when we start talking about what that might look like, it freaks us out a little to imagine not being together that day, so we migrate back to leaving it as it has been for the past several years.
About four years ago, my dad gave us a great gift wrapped up as an appall- ing slap in the face with no white tissue paper to be found anywhere. He an- nounced that our long standing tradi- tion of gathering to celebrate together at our childhood home was ending. In- stead, he wanted us each to take turns hosting the gift exchange and meal
The Gift of the Dadgi
at our respective houses. It was so weird at first, but actually, it worked out okay. We thought that on the fifth year, the celebration would return to the house at 360, but he took his leave of us this past April, and unbeknownst to us, we had already enjoyed the last chance to fill the driveway with cars, cram into the small house among dozens of gifts, and make more noise than a filled stadium. We had sipped our last eggnog and balanced our last plate of food on our knees. I’m glad we didn’t know. I’m glad he had wise- ly begun grooming us to find tradition without him.
With the rotating celebration in play, my father and his dog began spending Christmas Eve at my house. With all of the shopping, cooking and wrapping done, and the luminary for my mother glowing in the back yard, we would settle in for the night. The
Husband would hustle the dogs out- side for one last potty, and then off to bed they would go. Not me. I waited. I waited until my dad was ready to turn in for the night. I would tuck him in and sit on the floor, with my back leaning against the mattress, and read to him, “The Night Before Christmas.” He would try to recall the words from long ago and recite it with me, and he grinned at the distant memory of four children with ants in their pants wait- ing for Santa to come. I don’t remem- ber what present he bought me last year, though it was probably some- thing nice, but I will always treasure the gift. It was the precious glimpse of life’s full circle. It was the child tuck- ing in a parent and kissing him good- night. It was the tear that rolled down his hollowing cheek and the man who slept well knowing he and his wife had raised their children well.
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