Saturday, May 30, 2015
Of Santa, Grown Children, and Magic
Several year ago (when she was in her earlier twenties than she now is) my daughter made the comment at Christmas, "Now I'm at the age when it's more fun to do presents for other people than to get presents myself." For a brief moment I felt a little sad to think that my daughter didn't see getting presents herself as being as much fun as giving gifts to others; and for an equally brief moment I started to try to think up what I might say that would encourage her (or either of her two, grown, brothers for that matter) not to allow herself to become so focused on others that she might forget to enjoy being the person who have been given the gift.
I think it's important that people not become so separated from some of the pure wisdom we have in childhood, or from that simple understanding that being happy about discovering that "Santa" seems to have made his way to us for no purpose other than to try to make us happy. Outgrowing some things in life isn't really always "growing up". Instead, it's "growing old" (and sometimes it's growing old so much sooner than a person should ever do that - if, in fact, a person should ever grow old at all, you know?).
In any case, it wasn't the time or place for thinking about, or having a conversation, about such things. Besides, those brief moments ended when I then thought about what Christmas and presents are supposed to mean, but also about the hearts that we hope will grow from the love that is shared with them in those earlier days in our children's lives, when joys are as uncomplicated as toys under a Christmas tree; and the greatest gifts we could ever have ourselves are those amazing and magical creatures who start out as beautiful babies and somehow magically, and almost overnight, turn into so much more.
As children most of us have asked about how Santa has time to get to so many houses that are in so many locations; and I think just about all kids ask how Santa can fit all those toys for all those kids into that sleigh and/or down all those different-sized chimneys. (Of course, not all chimneys lead straight to Christmas trees for some children. That, too, is one of those questions children have. That, I suppose must remain a subject for another time.) With regard to those other questions, however, what we learn is that when it comes to so many things in this life, sometimes there is no answer other than that there's magic - magic in Christmas, magic in the lights and the tree, magic in the faces of children, and magic in the hearts and words of children who have grown up to be just what we'd always hoped for and more than we'd ever have asked for.
Posted by ME Whelan at 8:59 PM