My grandmother is a very special person, as I’ve already written. Every time I sit down and try to write about how or why, I feel blocked, because it’s something I just don’t have the words to adequately describe.
I have been struggling, as I have openly admitted, to cling to the Christmas spirit. It’s something that has actually been easier in recent years, because kids can pretty much make anything great (or terrible, I suppose, depending on your perspective). This year, whether it’s the lack of snow, or undeniable hypocrisy and nastiness floating around out there, it has been more difficult.
Our children don’t know that. We are doing all of the usual special Christmas things, with the same amount of apparent enthusiasm as always. We even started a new tradition (kindness elves) and revived another (Christmas cookies and frosting from scratch). Still, I feel like I am struggling to find that real, deep, spirit this year.
A few things have helped. First, attending holiday shows and watching my children perform. Amazing. Hilarious. Brilliant. Second, the song Burrito Sabanero, because it’s amazing, and no, it is not about a spicy burrito (watch the video!). Finally, today my grandmother’s Christmas cards arrived in the mail.
Grandma sends cards for every major occasion, and often writes letters, in her special Grandma handwriting. I can remember getting her cards and letters in the mail as a child, and I can honestly say I look forward to opening them as much now as I ever did. Our children have also come to look forward to these cards, and today did not disappoint.
It’s not just that she takes the time to mail cards. She also takes the time to look for special cards, cards that say something she really wants to communicate, and she always includes at least a short note of her own. The cards that arrived today shared a common theme: Star Wars. She knows our kids love Star Wars, because she listens to what they say, and she pays attention to what they like. She chose Leia for our oldest daughter, because that’s who she was at Halloween, BB8 (the new droid) for our oldest son, because he loves robots and talks about them almost as much as he talks about Star Wars, Rey for our younger daughter, who is about as wild as they come, and an R2D2 card for the baby, likely because she knew he wants to be just like his older brother (and he does). The older kids also received a matching ornament, which they all treat as a true treasure, and because the baby wouldn’t know what to do with an ornament, his card sings when it opens. He spent a solid ten minutes dancing around the kitchen with it, which in toddler time, is like three days.
There are a lot of obnoxious people out there (like the two men in fancy suits who almost punched each other over tickets to a school holiday performance), and a lot of sad things happening, but there are also still some really great people out there, who really care about others, and I feel so thankful and so blessed to have so many of them in our lives.
Seven days to go, and I am actually starting to feel ready.