KABOOM!!!! The sound echoed off of the walls and went right to my head and heart. I lifted the book I was petending to read high enough to cover my face and silently repeated, "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this".
My 12 year old granddaughter had decided that "SHE" would do Christmas this year. The sound that had sent shivers down my spine was the sound of her dropping one of the pieces of the Christmas Village that I have created. The village totals over 100 pieces and has taken me over 12 years to make. Each piece has a date and a memory of that particular Christmas attached to it's underside. My 'Christmas Memories' were being handed over to the next female generation. And it was being done before my very own eyes (and ears).
I have at least 30 boxes that are labeled "CHRISTMAS". Those 30 boxes are full of memories that I have accumulated over my lifetime. I used to be what would nicely be termed a 'Christmas Junkie'. I loved the glitz and glitter of the season. I loved making glitz and glitter Christmas things. I have stitched my two grandchildren a stocking for every year they have been alive. Inside the stocking I put a picture of them and a letter of memories for that year. I have made almost every ornament that hangs on the tree including the gold and crystal star that sit on the top. I have made all the wreaths that hang inside and outside the house. I have made all the stuffed snowmen, santas, angels, reindeer, pillows, etc that sit around the house. I have made every Nativity Scene that sits on the shelves, even the large one that has to have it's own space. I have made all the floral arrangments, big and small. And I even made the sparkling gold reindeer that has green and gold follage flowing out of its back. I have sewed, needleworked, painted, stuffed and created enough glitz and glittery Christmas things to open my own Christmas Store and that's exactly what my house used to look like by this time every year.
But this year I can no longer do all those wonderful Christmas put ups and hang theres. The post-polio Scrooges have taken my ability to stretch and stand and decorate. Hence the passing of the Christmas boxes from one woman to another. Only one tiny problem. I always thought that the boxes would be passed when I was gone. I envisioned my family opening the boxes and "oohing and aahing" over this memory and that memory while I would be smiling from heaven. But life stepped in and stepped on my 'envisions' and the "oohing and aahing" is being done while I am still here to hear it. While there are some wonderful things that can be said for being on hand to witness the passing of the boxes there is also the wear and tear to consider. As I try not to open my mouth to offer suggestions ("I want to do this myself, Penny") I can see the tissue paper flying all over the house as the memories are unwrapped, I can hear the KABOOMs when the breakable pieces fall out of too eager and too impatient hands, I can see the work stoppage when a memory that directly applies appears in an opened box, I can hear the encouragement and frustration coming out of her father as he comes to the realization that "I want to do this myself" meant that he would do a lot of the work at her direction, and I can hear the voice in my head repeating over and over "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this".