I’ve been counting the days for about two weeks, since I heard that my favorite radio station would start playing Christmas music twenty-four, seven on November 17th – today! I couldn’t wait to turn my radio on this morning and sure enough – one of my favorites, The Little Drummer Boy, was playing!
Not many things make me quite as happy as holiday music. Some people get tired of it and think they start playing it too early, but I could listen to it year around.
It makes everything a little easier for me. For instance: Although I’ve done it for many years, I really don’t enjoy preparing the big Thanksgiving feast, but having the Christmas music playing full-blast while I’m making pie crust or chopping celery makes it almost enjoyable. I get so wrapped up in the music that things seem to go much faster and smoother.
This year, I’m still whining about the fact that my eldest daughter and her family, who have always been here for Thanksgiving, won’t be this year. I have other children and grandchildren who will be, and I’m grateful for each one of them. However, the way I feel reminds me of The Parable of the Lost Sheep. You all know it. It's about a shepherd who had a hundred sheep and one of them strayed. That shepherd left the other ninety-nine sheep and searched for the lost one until he found it.
Common sense tells me that I'm being selfish. My daughter has a family now and it’s okay if she cooks Thanksgiving dinner for her family one year out of her whole lifetime. But as I said in another post, tradition dies hard for me. It seems that the pattern our lives fall into is backwards. As we get older, we need and want our children around us more, but that’s when they’re busy with jobs and families and don’t have as much time for us. It doesn’t seem to bother them. They are living and enjoying their lives the way they desire but frankly, parents begin to feel neglected – as if they are just in the way!
I say these things from first-hand experience. I’m remembering what it was like after my father died and I was duty-bound to do all the things for my mother that she couldn’t do for herself. Sometimes I hated it! I really wanted to be at home with my husband and family, doing the things I loved, but she had to come first. I knew that, but honestly, it was sometimes difficult not to resent it. Knowing what I know now, I’m not sure I’d do things any differently. I hope I would.
My father had a million little sayings he enjoyed sharing at opportune times. One I remember well was, “If I could go back to twenty years old and know what I know now, I’d do things a lot differently.”
But would he have? Would any of us? I doubt it.
We live our lives the only way we know how, and yes, sometimes most of us live a little selfishly because we take pleasure in doing what we want to do. Unfortunately, we only begin to learn what we should have done after it’s too late to go back and change things.
So we vow to do better from here on out. Most of us do. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know where we’re going now and it’s okay. Life, in retrospect, has been good.
So, turn on your radio and enjoy the holiday music, sing, dance, be nice to others; smile at everyone you meet. You’d be surprised how powerful a smile or a kind word to a stranger can be.