by Jackie King
I haven’t loved every Christmas. I’m an old gal, and looking back through the years, there were many years I just plain faked my 'ho
ho ho.' Some of those years were hard and to get through them I had to put on a brave face of unfelt joy for the sake of those who loved me. And oddly enough, for those who didn’t like me much. Why give such people the satisfaction of seeing you’re having a sucky Christmas?
There have been two especially tough Christmases in my life. The first was when my husband of 31 years informed me on the way to a church service that he didn’t love me anymore. That he hadn’t for a very long time. “I thought I could tough it out, and I really tried. But I just can’t stand it anymore.” Then he drove us on to church. It was a cold but sunny day and I was wearing sunglasses. I wore them all through the service, hoping people would think I’d just forgotten to take them off.
Sunglasses are wonderful things for hiding tears.
The second Christmas was after my 38-year-old son passed away in the summer. Plus, in early December of the same year, the doctors said my 10-year-old granddaughter had to have open-heart surgery.
We spend that Christmas Day in the children’s hospital at St. Francis Hospital. None of us minded, we were just thankful that the surgery was successful and that our darling girl was going to be fine.
I’m sitting at my computer and to my left is a huge stack of wrapped presents, all ready for Christmas Eve at my oldest daughter’s house. Today is December 23, the date of my once-upon-a-time marriage, but I hold no grudges and have no angst.
This year there will be no faking joy. The same granddaughter, now 19, is on vacation from University of Texas where she’s enrolled in their film school and loving it. She just called and said she’d pick me up tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 p.m. for our family celebration. We chatted a good long while. Among other things she told me her next semester schedule. She listed several classes including second year Swedish. Her plan is to travel to this country, famous for excellent films, to study for a semester.
One of her classes is the beginning course in screen-play writing. (Both of my granddaughters are writers. My grandson, a computer whiz.) She is excited about this class, and so am I. Life is good and my Christmas is Merry! I hope your Christmas is also wonderful.