I was thinking about my babies this morning, my babies now grown. Often I wonder if I’m an anomaly or if other mothers think like I do? Mothers who see their grown children’s mirrored images appear as they once were?
It’s the season that brought these particular memories to me today. My boys will be coming over in a few short days, five to be exact. Sunday is coming soon! We’re celebrating Christmas early this year, the first since my “babies” were born. We’ll gather in the “‘Christmas Room,” to unwrap gilded presents of colored crinkled paper, search for personalized stockings hung from the mantle, and delight in the sweet awe of our little “Gracie-Girl.” Her busy morning will be torn between bright, musical instruments to play,and pushing new baby. Strolling her away.
Knowing I’m off and away only a few days later, I can hardly catch my breath. I’ll be leaving on a jet plane. Pushed and shoved until I take my seat by the window where shades of pink and aqua sun shall rise. Morning coffee will be served while l tap numbers on my cell phone, leaving torn “Good-by”‘ messages. I will miss them so. Then, I’ll close my eyes to dream of my former home far away in the desert. My father will be waiting for me to arrive. Christmas will soon be there too. God’s reason for the season. There will be church to attend, candles to light, carols to sing, and my father’s birthday to celebrate.
Arizona has many memories of my “baby boys” for me. Jayson, was only eight months old when I held him on my lap flying to a new home. We boarded a plane in Michigan headed for a land he didn’t know. Less than three years later, Justin was born in the same saguaro sand. When Christmas came around, I used to long for snow in the bitter cold and a breath I could see. I’d bundle my babes in puffed jackets and mittens where soon we’d visit light displays in all of the city.
Looking back, perhaps it was because Arizona didn’t have snow that neighborhoods compensated with lights all aglow? When I think of it now, it reminds me a bit of the movie “Christmas Vacation,” albeit in a good way. Each house slowly passed became more decorative in their displays, until finally at the end of one cul-de-sac, cars completely came to a halt. Mothers with children milled about, fathers tossed a football around, and even Santa himself appeared with striped candy canes for kids who stood in line. I looked about. Was there a ticket to be bought?
The night was young and relatively warm. I turned off the ignition of my 1980’s car. My babies were unstrained, their eyes wide with wonder. A ferrris-wheel of teddy-bears twinkled in the night and Rudolph and all his reindeer danced and pranced away. Nearby, a golden, glowing gingerbread house was lit from the inside-out, while Grandma served cookies from one of her windows there. My tiny-tots took their turns sliding down a holiday blinking silver slide. They drank watered-down cocoa from green snowflake cups using a thin red paper straw. Tossing my long sticky hair sticky (I did not care), they slurped and dribbled striped candy canes while sharing them upon my lap.
Soon it was over, seemingly almost before it ever began. Before tucking angels into bed, I sponged delicate wings, told a tale or two and kissed golden halos above sweet locks. Story book covers were tucked under chins, sweet dreams across rose colored lips. “Mama, we saw where Santa Claus lives,” my two-year old said, scrunching his pillow between the crook of his arms. “Yes, I think you’re right Sweetheart, that must be it.” With that I closed their door, a gentle smile across my face. It had been one of those perfect unplanned nights. For my two babes, and even for me, I believed in the magic of Santa Clause that night.
That’s the memory I’ll hold dear in my heart when I’m that plane next week. The memory of my “babies” long ago, Christmas lights and a magic place where Santa Claus lives.