December 21, 2020 and I am almost ready for our Christmas Eve on Thursday at my daughter's mother-in-law's house. We've been doing this since 2010 and it has worked for the five of us. We grown-ups make Christmas happy (and profitable) for my fourteen -year-old grandson. His happiness has become the most important part of Christmas for us.
So we are meeting again this year, despite being careful of the pandemic virus. And I am so worn out of reading and talking about it that I will not say any more on that sad subject.
The nostalgic part of my brain has been overactive and heavy this week. When my grandson was almost three and already had many words and ideas, his mother found him walking around the house with his head leaning sideways over his left shoulder. When she asked him if his neck was stiff or sore, he answered, "No, my brain is feeling heavy today."
That's how my brain has felt all week. The memories started with some sadness for the people long gone whom I loved. But then it occurred to me how lucky I am to have had wonderful ones in my life to love enough to miss forever.
This includes my son, Jeffrey, and his stepfather, Jack. Two better men do not exist. They were big-hearted, gentle, and kind. One I found through sheer luck. And one I raised to be the man I would hope to have been if born male.
I am grateful for the time spent with them in the middle of my life. And I am grateful that my daughter, Leah, is still here in this world. She has become a loving anchor for my older life.
So, these are the things that occupy my mind this week. Memories and gratitude. And a slowly sneaking-up-on-me optimism for the new year of 2021, only two weeks away. It brings a vaccine for the dreaded virus. It brings a new government for the nation.
It should bring hope in the future for all of us, despite our differences, despite our samenesses, for the whole mixed-up pile of humanity that we are.
For this is the basic nature of life itself...to keep moving on toward what is good, what is bright and beautiful. All that is worth living for, including love and memories.
At least, this is where my nostalgic thinking led this past week. I think I'll keep these thoughts on the top of my mind, in my sometimes heavy brain, where nostalgia and optimism meet and mix.
And give me hope to get through another year of life, til Christmas rolls around again.
Happy Thoughts, Happy Hopes, Happy Christmas to you all.