IWAS enjoying the build-up to Christmas this year. It beginning too soon is never an issue for me.
Granted, the playing of Christmas carols in the stores could have a later start-by date but I say this only in deference to the countless shop assistants who have to live with them on a loop. But that is just a bythe-by. Otherwise let the festivities roll.
I imagine my complacency and laissez-faire has a lot to do with the fact that Santa Claus no longer needs to stop off in our house. With our youngest on the cusp of adolescence and our eldest on the cusp of adulthood, the pressure is off. We no longer need to construct a list that in the past could have had Santa circumvent the planet ten times over to source and supply a litany of treasure intact and in-time. There were occasions when even the elves in the North Pole couldn't produce what our shower wanted so it was left up to the main man to come up with the goods - whatever the price. How poor Santa did not manage to retrieve his waistline after the stress and tension we put him under, is to this day a mystery as great as Mr. Claus himself.
So the cloak and dagger stuff of Christmases past are gone. Yet the memories live. And they are good memories. In actual fact, I quite liked being Santa's little helper. I even had my own costume to don lending me to embrace the role with gusto. But that changed. The kids got older, cuter and cleverer which resulted in my role of helper being downgraded to that of look-out for which no defined costume was required. It would have been redundant at any rate seeing as when Santa had to blow up the blow-up couch himself, there wasn't so much as spark left in the fire afterwards.
Yes, the madness is behind us and sanity prevails. Christmas, from here on in, will be hassle-free, budget compliant and just plain calm. So you might assume that on my first foray into Christmas shopping this year, I would have exuded a sophisticated serenity. I pass a mother religiously reading the instructions on the back of a walkie-talkie set. I observe a young dad measuring two shiny bicycles against each other, driven mad with indecision. And I pass a couple pushing a jam-packed trolley of teddy bears and dolls houses with great big grins on their faces borne of a fait accompli.
And suddenly I am lonely. I am lonely for the mayhem, the clandestine shopping and the family we once were. When did Superman stop being super for my big boy, when did the dinosaurs become extinct to my middle man and when exactly did herself start putting boybands before Barbie?
The festivities might roll on but can the years please slow down? Not by much, but just enough to allow me catch-up and get used to my kids growing-up.