Monday, January 02, 2006
'Tis the season for returns ... Fa-la-la-la-la-la-lol
The kids must think us old fools.
My wife didn't want the cutlery set our daughter bought for her for Christmas. When asked why she said, "I have more knives now than I'll ever use. And besides, you can't close the kitchen drawers now as it is!" (Because they are full of the knives you bought the last two years.) "Okay, I'll return them."
I received the two obligatory packs of wrong-size underwear. "They are too small, daughter. I haven't had a 30-inch waist since you were two years old." She said, "So what if they are a little tight. You can still wear them, can't you?" I glanced over at my wife and answered, "I suppose I'd look sexy to your mother with everything in a tighter package." Said my wife, "Return them!" She said, "Okay I'll return them."
Our daughter, God bless her, is a good kid. The same can be said for her husband of almost three months. They both yearn for the traditional holidays. Alas, I feel sorry for them because those days are long gone. They will have to establish newer traditions of their own. We had to. Happiness and love were never in short supply while we were raising her. In fact, I'd say she turned out none the worse for wear.
Both she and her husband like to have the two families together for the holidays. Ah, therein lies the rub. For thirty plus years that was how our holidays played out. One family would host the festivities while everyone one else would travel to our place, laden with gifts and goodies. The next holiday would find us as the wayfarers. This practice alternated between houses and holidays year in and year out. My daughter grew up amidst those travelling side shows of holiday celebrating. I cannot find fault with her wanting to maintain traditions.
It happened in October, when our fallen arches and the leaves from the trees on the ground were evident, that there were changes advancing before the winter winds. Our baby girl was married and starting a life of her own. While she will always be our daughter, she is starting the next chapter of her life. Each ensuing chapter will be rife with memories and traditions of their own. She cannot see it now, but someday she will.
It was strangely eerie and yet satisfying to celebrate Christmas alone this year. There was nothing to pack to be hauled somewhere else. The house didn't need to be cleaned and policed from floor to ceiling. We didn't have to get up early. We didn't have to change from our sleepwear. We were able to keep our slippers on all day long. There was no need to lug extra chairs and tables from the attic. There was no need to do anything but to relax.
We had conceded Thanksgiving to them. It was their first Thanksgiving and they wanted to have everyone there. That didn't mean that my wife didn't still do her fair share of cooking. Then there was the annual Christmas Eve Parade get together at my daughter's in-laws house. The next day, her in-laws wanted everybody, including us, to come to their house for a Christmas dinner.
Well we reneged on the Christmas Eve Parade. Our daughter thought we were old farts for not wanting to see the parade. As the weather forecast, which turned out to be quite accurate, for that night was calling for freezing rain and strong winds, we refused to attend. It was miserable we were told. (A look out our own window hinted at the same prognosis.) They froze their asses off!
Yes, the kids must think us old fools. Aye, we are getting older, but we didn't stand outside in a blustery freezing rain to watch a parade. Now I ask you, who're the fools?
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that we didn't spend the entire Christmas alone. The kids did drop by for supper and to exchange gifts. It was a wonderful Christmas after all was said and done. I wondered during that supper if they might have realized that they were acting out the beginning of their own future traditions.
I realize we are not really that old. My wife and I have a lot of years to start our own next chapter of traditions. The kids will be a part of the new traditions, as we will be a part of their traditions. All I can offer as advice is to remember the traditions and to hold them dear and they will become the foundation of traditions to come.
I could, but I won't, add a thought: Don't be surprised when one day your children, with their families in tow, show up at your front door and ask, "Is there a codger in the house?"
Curmudgeon responsible for this post: Hale McKay at 2:43 AM