It’s getting closer, folks! About four days left here at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Today’s most beautiful Christmas Carol is by Pentatonix, “Mary, Did You Know?” I grew up knowing the story of the Christ Child very well, it’s what Catholic School did. While I’m not an active member now, I miss some things about it. The grandeur of Midnight Mass and the pageantry of the ceremonies. They were long and familiar, and when my brother Tom and I were walking home afterwards, if it was snowing, that was the best frame of all for Christmas in the old days. Ancient days. They were magical.
I remember when I was a little girl I was a terrible nail-biter. It was a terrible habit I eventually broke, but it was tough. My mom painted them with some sour tasting stuff; it was not a deterrent. One time, Dad was painting some trim on a wooden cabinet with black paint and a tiny, tiny brush. He reached over and told me he would paint my nails ugly so I would stop biting. I cried. He wiped the paint off with a warning, “Stop biting your nails, or Santa won’t leave you anything.”
That comment, used effectively in the late 1950s and 1960s, was the bane of every child’s existence before Christmas. Be good. Santa won’t (fill in the blank). In later years, it became too “traumatic” and realized to be a punishment. We survived being told that – to my knowledge, I didn’t suffer trauma from it. I just remember going to bed on Christmas Eve with my arms under my covers, praying they would stay there, so Santa wouldn’t see my bitten nails. It must have worked, since I got a present from Santa that year. WHEW!
The Babe and I don’t exchange gifts; his philosophy is we should buy what we want for ourselves. He has surprised me from time to time. He had a time where he wasn’t seeing his kids; and he remembers that time as being very sad and stressful. He came to hate Christmas. I get that. When I got divorced, I missed Christmas Eve with the in-laws. It was a big, loud, crazy family with lots of kids. A huge contrast to what I grew up with, we were quiet. We opened one gift at a time, saving all the ribbons AND paper, and only had four kids. The first year I experienced Christmas at Grandma T’s house was intriguing. I grew to love it. As the kids got older, the oldest one didn’t go on Christmas Eve or on visitations. He and his dad weren’t close, possibly because we lived in Nebraska while his dad was in the Army in Germany. Our son was 15 months old when his dad was out of the service. He had no idea how his son was as a little person. It was sad.
I’m so grateful to have the Babe. We help each other through the bumps in life. I thank God every day for the life we have together. I believe everyone has this one great love in their life. I’m so glad to find out I was right! He was well worth waiting for. May you all feel this way, too. Take heart, all my single friends. It’s all in God’s good time.
Take Care out there. We have nothing left to do for the holiday except enjoy each other. Make the most of it. Hug your people when appropriate and wear a mask to protect Grandma and Grandpa. We’ll all be together sooner than later. Be Safe. Be Patient. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. It’s worth it. See you tomorrow!