Thursday, January 2, 2014

Making Memories

And this Christmas came and went too fast just like last year and the year before that and the year before that. As we wrap up the fragile ornaments in the Sunday paper and I find a safe place for my most prized possession—a tiny frayed and faded stocking with my name on it, a plastic baby Jesus inside, that a nurse put on my bassinet two days after I was born, on my first Christmas—I find myself wishing we had done so much more. All those movies we neglected to watch and songs we didn’t listen to. We forgot to go ice skating. And did we ever even make hot chocolate with the kids? Read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas? Making memories can be exhausting. Then when it’s all put away in plastic boxes and stored in the attic, I find him--a stowaway Santa in a snow globe--hiding under a pile of discarded packaging on the desk. And, like every year, I don’t know what to do with him. It’s too exhausting to pull out the ladder, haul it upstairs, and climb back up to the attic for one little Santa, but if I store him somewhere else, I will forget about him next year. I surely can’t leave him out, he doesn’t belong in our life anymore. I shake the snow globe, watch the flakes saunter down and understand somehow that the best memories are not forced, not made, but just happen, like the weekend we went to Virginia Beach for a soccer tournament and it was so wet and cold and muddy and we had to go to the Laundromat to wash our clothes and it was all so very . . . nice . . . in the warm Laundromat, the smells of soap and fabric softener in the air, a football game on the TV, my family safe and dry around me. One of those moments I will never forget but that I can’t tell anyone about because they probably wouldn’t understand. When we left, Husband and I looked at each other and both said hesitantly, “That was fun,” aware of how odd it sounded. I put the Santa on a shelf in the garage. I’ll find him when we move.