Christmas songs were playing softly in the background as I did our grocery yesterday. I don’t know why, but every time I hear these familiar tunes a wave of sadness and joy sweeps over me; and the melancholy has become more profound over the years.
Perhaps it’s the bittersweet memories of Christmas past, when we all gathered around the table to enjoy the sumptuous Noche Buena my mother prepared. Then, if we were patient, we opened our presents at the stroke of midnight and wondered how Santa could’ve snuck into our home when we didn’t have a chimney. We always had a lot of guests during the Yuletide season; relatives, carolers, etc. My father would ask them to line up so he can give them their aguinaldos – a crisp 20, 50 or 100 peso bill. I miss Christmases like these; when my family was complete, my parents were young and healthy, and my siblings and I believed in magic and miracles. We may have had our share of squabbles, but we always came together when we needed it the most.
Maybe this is what the old adage “Christmas is for the children” means. As youngsters we didn’t have to go through the nuances of creating a shopping list for Noche Buena, tweaking the family budget so each child can get the gift they want, or making a big production of putting up the tree and decorations. No, as children we just marveled in awe as everything came together; all we had to do was be present.
And though I will always enjoy the adrenaline rush of last-minute Christmas shopping and cooking a decent Noche Buena feast…Although I’ll never tire of that warm, fuzzy feeling I get when I look around the table to see the happy, contented faces of my hubby, daughter and other people I love…There will always be a part of me that will long for those good old days when I was young and carefree; the kind of memories I wish to create for my daughter.
But for someone who resists change and hates goodbyes, I am careful to not get hung up on the “what could have been;” but to find solace in the “what was,” and hope in the “what could be.”
This coming Yuletide season, may we all create beautiful Christmas memories for all our loved ones, especially our kids. So that one day they too can look back fondly at these memories with a smile on their lips and perhaps, a tear or two in their eyes.
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