Oh the ache of Christmas,
of the years rolling by,
of children growing…I cannot stop it,
no matter how hard I try.
Middle boy says at table-
“I don’t get it this year…
It doesn’t seem like Christmas
Yet it’s almost here.
It’s a week away
and it feels like any other.
The few things on my list
hardly give my heart a flutter.”
“You’re older now my son…”
I say to him point blank.
Yet this morning I weep ponds
o’er the pictures in my memory bank.
The boy so full of glee
he hardly could contain
What Santa just might bring him…
A front-end loader, a Thomas train?
And this was in November!
bouncing, running ‘round,
trying to sit still long enough
to write his wishes down.
Then post them on his bedroom door
But that was not enough!
He must remind Santa’s messengers…
This is serious stuff!
Then in the wee-est hours
Christmas morn did he awake
To tiptoe down, survey the loot,
Then bursting, he would take—
His sister and his radio
to play the Christmas tunes.
Softly first, then louder still…
Their parents, surely, would waken soon.
And just to be sure,
in the room they would creep
Then hop on the bed
mom and dad pretending to sleep.
It is these bleary-eyed memories,
seared to my heart every year…
I can’t bear to see them passing
and n’er return I fear.
Does being a mother
mean that we get to hold
all the joy of receiving
and the pain of letting go?
Does it mean that I’m a vessel
to hold the years of a child?
I think that I may burst as well
They are too precious, lovely, wild!
Is this what Scripture means
when Mary treasured them in her heart?
I can’t begin to touch the pain
of her Son’s end, nor of His start.
From manger-lay to hung-on-a-tree…
how could a mother hold
the years of Your Child, boy to a man,
Could only be Love, and Love so bold.
I know just a taste of her vessel heart,
mine is still being swelled
by the boy-becoming-man-years…
More memories to be held.
18 December 2011
After a conversation with William at the dinner table, almost exactly the way I wrote it here.
****William is now 16. And though this was written two years ago, he said this again to me just the other day. Only a few things on his wish-list. I like to think it’s a sign of contentment in one so young.