Another Christmas is upon us. Every year, we’re reminded of the holidays from years prior. This is often the cause of anxiety and sadness for people during this time. However, I want to make a conscious choice to think of more positive things. I also know that those positive memories can be cause for sadness, too.
Nostalgia has always been a bit of a conundrum for me. The emotions charging through me when I get struck with it are both exciting and depressing. The mixed bag is curious. Yet, despite that, examining the thoughts and feelings at these times draws me down the rabbit hole.
Childhood memories are the most bittersweet. I simultaneously want to go back and not go back ever again. I like who I am today, but I like the security I felt back then. The cares and dreams were strong, but they didn’t threaten my stability should things go awry.
Thus, Christmases past crash all around me at this time of year.
One such memory is of a plush ornament we had on the tree. Actually, there were two. White mice with felt details in red, pink and gold, little black eyes and whiskers. I adored them. So much so, there is only one left. The other, who had become a pocket pal for school, didn’t survive my adoration. How is it that the innocent love of a child can be so destructive? It should, rather, be a thing of beauty. However, the fragile body of that cotton puff mouse just couldn’t bear my constant attention the season I got my mitts on her.
I can still picture the tree sparkling in the front room. I’d help mom set up the manger, like it was my special job to manage it. My brother and I used to rub our bodies on the couch or chair to raise some static and marvel at how the tinsel drew up to our hands. Sometimes a bright blue zap would sting our fingers. We’d squeal with terrified delight and do it all over again.
Sitting in the dark with the Christmas lights on was my favorite part. Even then, that ennui would bubble up. Nostalgia for a seven year old is peculiar. The wee black eyes of that puffy mouse were too much to ignore. I’d pluck them off the tree and abscond with them (either to school or my room). Mom would try to explain they were not toys and she didn’t want them ruined, but my obsession with them controlled my actions.
To this day, I still search for the mouse on the tree, but I don’t tuck him in my pocket. Instead, I feel guilty that I mauled his twin, and my zealousness ruined something so beautiful. And when I’m done with that, I think of all the other things that made up Christmas in my house (old caroling booklets, cookies, my manger, and family).