i wish, i wish….
soon as the snowflakes started to tumble from the sky, i threw on my puffy old coat, slipped in my boots, went out to play elf, quite early this morning.
never mind that the sun wasn’t yet out from under its covers. sleeping in, that sun was.
i’d been up hours already–16-year-old pulling an all-nighter, 8-year-old burning up with a fever (the yin and yang in my house really is something sometimes)–so why not shuffle through snowflakes, make my deliveries, greet the dawn with that rare, lung-filling mix of seasonal tiptoeing around.
might as well finish the job is more or less what i was thinking. fact is, i’d been up late into the night, filling my sacks with holiday breads, studded with cranberries, swirled with almond-y paste. i’d dropped in a helping of clementines, enough for every house along my way. and candy canes, too.
such was my merry christmas this year, up and down the alley. draping the bags over the knobs of so many doors.
christmas is simple this year. simple with purpose.
seems right to pare down, for a whole host of reasons. indeed, so says the look from my mate who happens to think not so much of the giving of holiday gifts. oh, don’t take that wrong. send him off to the store for a little something, he comes back with a thoroughly thought-out, utterly generous choice.
it’s just that, well, he does not–in any way–equate the giving of “stuff” with holidays. (sorry news for the two boys in this house who are living rebuttal to the notion that all jewish-catholic kids are holiday double-dippers. alas, they escape with not much more than hanukkah gelt and a christmas sock stuffed with an orange and various old-world trinkets.)
but that doesn’t stop me from wishing.
i wish, i wish this time of year, my head filling with a list that goes on and on.
oh, no, it’s not what you might be thinking. it’s not for me i’m wishing.
what i wish, darn it, is that i could be the merriest elf that ever there was and give and give till my old heart’s content.
i seem to find my december delight in thinking back over all the year, and wishing i could fill the arms and hearts of all of those who’ve sprinkled some sort of magic dust here upon my path……
i wish i could fill a basket, first off, for my little one’s teacher, a teacher who buried his very young wife, not even a year ago. i’d give him a blanket, and home-cooked breakfast, i’d wipe away the tears that surely will spill plenty of times in the long weeks to come.
i wish i could wrap up a house with an orchard and mail it off to the brother i love up in maine. i wish i could do the same, sans the orchard, to my very best friend in sunny LA, who feels very cramped in her tiny apartment, with a dog and a daughter besides.
i wish i could make the cancer go away for my across-the-street neighbor.
and i wish i could find a job for my friends who have lost them. especially the one with the newborn, and the wife who can’t bear to leave that baby for 10 hours every day, but will if she has to, if he can’t find work before this hard year ends.
i wish i could knit a sweater for the old man who lives next door, who tells me how his wife is dying, as tears run down his very sad face.
i wish i had time to bake beautiful cookies, and wrap them in bright shiny paper, for each of the very good souls who sit beside me on the days i toddle off to work, all of us typing away in what might be the end of the newspaper era.
i wish i had enough left-over sweets to make one heaping platter for the wonderful man at the front desk of the tower where i type, a bear of a man who greets me every morning with a heart-melting smile, and gives me reason to not mind the 45 minutes it took to get there.
i wish that each one of you could come to my house, pull up a chair, and dive into a big bowl of oranges, pour the coffee, slice through a nutty cinnamon cake.
i wish we could sit and watch the birds flutter by. i wish you could see the sunlight begin to filter in. and the candles flicker.
i wish, in one last outrageous wish, that i knew the address of the wee little boy who sat beside me on the train the other night, showing off his brand new construction boots, size 3 at most. i wish i could knock on his mama’s door, and hand over a tree, and a basket filled for christmasy dinner. and a bright shiny something for that kid who made the whole train car laugh out loud.
i wish for all the world to be blanketed in a holy comforter of peace. i wish for houses filled with joyful noise. and the utter silence of two dear friends who needn’t say a word.
i wish for whatever’s deepest in your heart to please, please, please come true.
i wish you merry almost christmas.
what do you wish for? let the wish list begin….
I don’t want to bring sadness to this table, but I feel very comfortable here with all of you. I feel your warmth and compassion through the miracle of technology and the hope that comes with friendship. And, so this Christmas, this very difficult day for me, I wish for peace and heavenly warmth for my mom who died earlier this week. There is a huge void in my heart and my home at this time of the year without her. Yes, her spirit is here, I feel her constantly, but the absence of her physical being, her voice full of advice, her laughter as her grandchildren talk to her, and the warmth of her hand as she would hold mine in prayer is no longer part of our days in the coming week. She will be missed so very much. So, I hope for everyone the lessons I took from my mom. She showed compassion and generosity and love and kindness to all who she met in her days. She had a smile for all, and a kind word for everyone. If all the people of the world were more like her, we would all be in that better place right now. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy Birth/blog day, too. Peace and joy to all.
i wish you a merry, healthy, peace-filled, candlelit, slowed down christmas. and the same thru the new year. hope it comes true, dear friend.
oh, dear jack…..i am so deeply heartily sorry. you write so beautifully of your mother i almost felt her right here behind me……you were blessed. but to lose her now, right before christmas, i am so very sorry. it seems only a few weeks back you were moving her into a new place, and now, emptiness and heartache, i am so so sorry. i was stunned to read the words. and i know all of us at the chair will gather round, and in our own way, hold you up through these dark dark winter days…..sosser, love to you my friend. thank you for wandering by……maybe a real cup of tea we can share in one of these weeks ahead…
Dear Jack,Your friends here at the table hold you up and send our finest thoughts to you at this time of loss. The way you honored her here is precious and sweet. May you find grace and peace in your heart as you remember her. bam … your words here are pure poetry … much love for the happiest of holidays and hoping the young one’s fever is gone to enjoy every magic moment.
Jack, such a difficult time of year to lose someone so dear as a mother, when you wish all the rushing around would stop and take note that the world is now a lonelier place, but only after having been made better by the blessing of such a loving mother as yours. I wish you God’s peace.BAM, I wish we could share a bench by the river and a bag lunch next summer, as we had thought about this summer but never managed …I wish every soldier home, whole.I wish comfort for my Ann’s son Jack, at his first Christmas without his mother, half way through his freshman year in h.s.I wish restored health for your Mary, and strength for her and for her Molly.I wish enough — food for the hungry; healing for the sick; comfort for the grieving, peace for the war-torn.I thank God for good health, for countless blessings undeserved but so very appreciated.And I thank you for this sacred space. May you and yours be very blessed now and ever.
Such lovely sentiments–wishing to make things right and joyful. And, adding the magic of gifts on the doorknobs from elves to brighten the day of all on the block. I heard a woman interviewed on the radio who was downsizing gift-giving this year, after losing a job–making jam and having people over for tea. Jack, so sorry about the passing of your mother. This is a hard one. Take care of yourself as you grieve. If you find yourself getting low, think of how your mother would be at your side to offer comfort and advice to cheer you up. She sounded like a terrific mama.
My tears and smiles are full of wishes…..
Jack I’ve just come late to the table and my heart goes out to you. I lost my mom about 12 years ago and I still miss her, think of her, every day. And heck, we weren’t even that close. I was just out of it, really, for an entire year after she died. Tears are coming to my eyes as I’m thinking over your last few months, which you spent the right way: making the most of the time you had. And now, I want you to give yourself time. Time to rest and mourn and not jump to anybody else’s tune in this matter. Losing a mama is difficult. And when you get too lonely or feeling a little too unpinned-down in the cosmos, take a page out of the bam playbook and do for someone else who’s miserable too. Forgive my presumption; I don’t even know you. But you have been in my thoughts and prayers, and I know a little of what you’re going through. My deepest sympathies for your vast loss. And as for your mother, well, in the Orthodox church we say and sing, “May her memory be eternal.”
Been pondering wishes for almost a week now….Jack ~ I wish some peace and laughter mixed in with your sadness and tears as you remember all the funny and dear things a mom can be. It is a profound loss. To that end, I wish for all of us the same as we reflect on this last year and move into another. The sorrows are always with us, but so is our capacity for laughter and joy. The table is a blessing for me…and each of you are carried in my heart day to day. The light begins to lengthen now and may that carry us all into 2010. Blessings all round.
My heart is bursting and my tears are flowing as I read the sincere and kind words that all you were nice enough to share with me. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to think of me, my mom, and our loss. I’d like to say someting profound about the kindness of strangers, but none of you who shared your wisdom and feelings with me are strangers. The kinship of the table is felt deep in my soul this Christmas Eve afternoon. Merry Christmas to all of you, your families, and those you hold dear. May God’s blessings be with you throughout the new year. Thanks again.