Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nostalgia & Christmas Joy

Are there words adequate enough to describe the delight I have in my grandchildren? I doubt it.

Ava spent Thursday night with us (she'll be three in January). She slept in the room that was her bedroom from age 3 months to 18 months when my daughter and her husband moved back to New Hampshire from Los Angeles. Lately she and I haven't spent much time together because of my low energy levels. But I'm finally feeling like my old self. When my daughter told her she was spending the night, she said, "Is LeeLee feeling better?"

Ava helped me decorate our Christmas tree Friday morning. I admire people who have themed and coordinated Christmas decorations. They are very beautiful. It's just not my thing. I have every ornament ever given to me since I got married in 1971 and they come out every Christmas to adorn our Christmas tree! The first one Ava pulled out was a 26-year old paper plate with a faded green and red crepe paper wreath surrounding a picture of my son when he was six years old. He made it at school when he was in first grade. He's 32 now. Ava exclaimed, "That's Uncle Brian!" She's seen his childhood pictures on our dining room wall. She laughed, carefully opened its original red yarn loop and hooked it over a low branch. She stood back, smiled and clapped her hands, then turned back to the box and continued to inspect each ornament before hanging it and stopping to clap each time.

"Wow, look at this one, LeeLee," she said, "it's beautiful!" She held up a small, gold satin ball decorated with different sized white beads. Very ornate.

"My sister made that for me a long, long time ago," I said. I thought of my late-sister, Jo-Ann, and her various forays into artsy-craftsy things--macrame plant hangers, developing her own pictures, ornate Christmas ornaments, etc. These creations are dispersed throughout our family. My mom still uses some of those plant hangers. My photo albums have black & white pictures she took of her children and mine and developed in her dark room. And yesterday, that Christmas ornament resurfaced.

Ava continued carefully taking each ornament out of the box and, with a studied gaze, took in every detail. We had constant conversation as we took our time. I'll admit the placement is a little bottom heavy, but for me it's not about the asthetic, it's about the nostalgia; it's about creating memories for a new generation. In the process, the joy of Ava's and my time together was evident to both of us. I took great joy in seeing her inspect the deocrations and hang them on the tree and I have no doubt Ava knew I was delighting in our time together.

Ahhh, the joy of grandchildren!
PS. The face shot of Ava was taken last week when Ava helped my Mom, her great-grandmother, set up her Christmas village.

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