Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Growing, Growing, Gone

I had lunch with my friend Susan yesterday. We've known each other since the kids were babies. Susan remembered that our family had always hung our stockings on the mantel for St. Nicholas Day (that would be today). She asked if we were still doing that. We're not. With only Julie now at home Dec. 6th, it didn't seem to make sense to fuss over a Christmas stocking for one 17 year old. This year, I didn't make my customary dash to the mall to load up on last-minute stuffers. This year, and probably from now on, today is just another ordinary day.

Every December, we bought an ornament for everyone to hang on the Christmas tree, then keep in boxes of their own until they moved away. Sheridan, Evan and Rosie are each unsettled on a permanent residence, so we still have theirs (though Steve and I have to hang them up). Yule-loving PJ grabbed his box last year and took it to college at Millersville, where he decorated a small tree in his dorm. It won't be long before our annual evergreen is completely bare (we couldn't afford to buy ornaments for ourselves).

We still serve breakfast in bed to the birthday child, but it's not the same as it used to be. When all 5 of them were small, we'd each contribute something to the breakfast tray--a pretty flower, a Beanie Baby, a crayoned card.  Then we'd add the plate of French toast, and up the stairs we'd troop, singing "Happy Birthday" in what we thought might possibly be harmony. I will always picture my cute young honored ones, sleep-tousled but thrilled, sitting up in bed eating their special meal. Things got tricky after they hit middle school and had to leave earlier in the morning. By the time high school (6:45 AM!) rolled around, we'd be scrambling the eggs madly, stuffing a flowering weed from the yard into a vase, and racing pell-mell through the birthday song as Anniversary Boy or Girl nervously watched the clock lest he/she miss the bus. Lost a little something in the translation.

My children are growing, growing, gone. And I put away their childish things, eyes tearing up. While the days seemed endless when they were still in diapers and wouldn't share their toys and NEVER napped...looking back, it was a ridiculously short span when I had them all home together. I did, on some level, know how lucky I was, but I’ll always wish I had taken the time to savor the moments more. I took for granted that there would always be tiny guys around to make birthdays and Christmas days of such excitement, wonder and joy.

While I am waaaay too young to be a grandma (of course), I look forward to sharing magical childhood moments with precious little ones again someday.

Meanwhile, it’s December 6th, and I’m feeling kind of blue.

St. Nicholas skipped our house this morning, and I don’t think he’ll be back.

1 comment:

  1. I was just telling Carole yesterday that your family also celebrates St. Nicholas Day. (we don't but they do) Reading this tears at my heart. I've been pulling out the Christmas things and reminded of how so much has changed -- already. It truly does fly by in the blink of an eye. XO