Wednesday, January 2, 2008

whirlwind life and love

family Christmas

a fabulous visit from Kami and Jess

Christmas on the beach and Aunt Nancy gettin' jiggy

our Three Kings

in procession

and singing along

On Christmas Eve in the kitchen Jeanna said "This is our one day". As in "One day, we'll have kids and live in the same city and we'll raise our families together and celebrate life together, one day" Our "one day" is here and now and our life is good and wonderful and precious. Our family came down in waves from Georgia and it was glorious. We played on the beach, we ate, we laughed, we told stories, we remembered to love and honor each other.
Leading up to the holidays, there were many conversations on the spirit of Christmas, the reason for the season, Advent, the birth of Christ, the Star of Bethlehem, the shepherds, Mary and that long march, no room at the inn, Joseph, and the Wise Men. We've never emphasised or really even talked about Santa Claus, the American icon who knows if you've been naughty or nice, he never really fit in our idea of Christmas, so this year when Magdalena, who is such the savvy four-year-old, started asking questions, we needed some answers. So we explored St. Nicholas and his rich history, who he was and what he did and how the big round guy with the red suite and white beard and hair is here to remind us of St Nicholas, and how Santa Claus carries on the idea of the tradition of St Nicholas with gift-giving.
It typically went like this:
Magdalena: So Santa Claus is dead?
me: No.... he's not dead, because he's a representation of St Nicholas.
M: So St Nicholas is dead?
me: Yes.
M: So he's like Jesus, he died and now he's alive again because he's Santa Claus.
me: No..., that's not really how it works.
(pause. thinking thinking thinking. "Here comes Santa Claus" comes on the radio while we're driving)
M: Mama, the guy whose singing this song doesn't know that Santa Claus is dead!

I just told all my mom friends, listen, you might not want to bring the whole Santa thing up if you're doing the myth with your kids. A few of my mom buddies looked at me as if I were completely batty and didn't understand what in heaven's name I was doing. Just trying to insert a bit of meaning into the whole thing, ya know, don't really want to build up a non-existent figure into something important only to have the reality of "Santa's not real" rip the foundation of trust I've established with my kids out from underneath them, I guess we're just communists anyway. Sigh.
We closed the Christmas season with a celebration of the Epiphany, the arrival of the Three Wise Men/Kings to bring gifts and honor the Christchild. Magdalena, Augustus and Frida with scarves for headdress, processed into my mom's from the beach and carried boxes representing the gifts of the Magi, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. There was a lighted star above a small manger with Sunflower, Magdalena's baby doll, in the roll of the Baby Jesus, while we sang "We Three Kings of Orient". It was surprisingly perfect. As it should be.