I sit here on this chilly December morning, wrapped in my pink fluffy robe, sitting on my red couch, a couch I dreamed of years before I bought it. As I stare at my pre-lit Christmas tree, I think of Christmases past where, as a little girl, I’d eagerly anticipate the thrill of Christmas morning where I’d get to sit near the Christmas tree and hurriedly unwrap my Christmas gifts.
I remember one Christmas in particular—I must have been nine because we still lived in Redondo Beach, in a house on Pinckard Ave. That particular house had a rumpus room in the back. Except for the lack of a kitchen, it resembled a studio apartment. My parents placed the Christmas tree in that room for some reason. They normally placed it in the living room in the house, but that year differed.
In my mind I see myself, sitting near the tree in my blue robe surrounded by a bounty of Nancy Drew books. I loved to read and I can just image that I spent days reading that Christmas holiday. My dad loved to buy me books, buy me mysteries. He never read much as an adult but he loved a classic mystery, particularly Agatha Christie mysteries.
I still miss him and can’t believe he’s been gone over a year and a half. This will be my second Christmas without him, and I still shed tears and sometimes my throat burns with sadness, but the sadness doesn’t bury me anymore. I have so much to be grateful for: my mom, my friends, my yoga, my hiking.
I’m also grateful for my dad. He collected Disney and other animated art and I’ve slowly started bringing a few of his special pieces to my apartment. Last week I put up a framed cell of the Tazmanian devil dressed in a Santa suit. I placed it above my television, in my living room so I could see it and think of him.
As I write this, I wish for so much this year, but most of it can’t be wrapped underneath a tree. I wish for peace, inner peace. I wish the batteries in my dancing pink flamingo hadn’t corroded and he could dance again. I wish I could do better at standing forehead to knee, but I’m glad I can do it in some form! I wish everyone could see and feel it’s okay just to be. I spent too many years trying to fit into a mold, and this woman isn’t made to be molded!
I wish that everyone (including me) could realize that love is the only currency anyone really needs. Love of self. Love of others. I’m closer to that realization this year, and on Christmas morning when I sit near my Christmas tree and feel the love of the non-material gifts my dad (and others) have given me I’ll have opened the best gifts I could ever have hoped to receive.