Christmas really is for the children.
All the presents, Santa, the sparkling tree — all for the kids.
And, that’s the thing.
Christmas strikes a sense of nostalgia — of childhood — that we cannot revert to, but Christmas is that small bit of childhood goodness that we can all experience again. It brings back warm feelings with every bite of a Rudolph sugar cookie we eat. It brings back that tug to your heart with every wish Santa grants when you walk by his “workshop” at the downtown Nordstrom seeing all the children smiling and in awe. It makes your dark run in the rain so much better when flying by house after house lit with glowing icicle lights.
My cousin, who is in fifth grade,
still believes in Santa Claus. Christmas is about that innocence. It’s about believing. It’s about giving. It’s about being with the ones you love and care about — and remembering those who cannot be with you.
So, on this eve of Christmas Eve, I say a Merry Christmas to you and yours!
(It’s also the only time of year I can justify having red and green nails with a bejeweled image of Santa on the thumbs!)
I wish I had saved the photo I saw onto my desktop so I could have pasted it here. I know I am good with words but words really cannot describe the emotions portrayed in that Associated Press photo. If you saw any of the photos from that Friday, I am sure you came across it and know which one I am referring to.
Our hearts are beyond heavy, they are broken.
A few insignificant significances this week (in no particular order):
- A few employees and patients wearing Santa hats around the hospital. (One patient even came in with a blinking Rudolph nose and headband antlers!)
- Wednesday’s weird overcast gray sunset. How can I see that the sun is setting when the sun never really came out during the day??
- Mis-communicating where I was meeting a friend. We both end up at bars two blocks away from each other. I sheepishly duck out of mine while the waitress wasn’t looking since I never ordered anything in the first place.
- That feeling you get when you’re about to visit an “old friend.”
- When your boss tells you to “just stop worrying and go on your vacation, already!”
It’s on repeat, this one song.
It keeps me calm.
I’m in the dark — literally, I’m in the dark. It’s 4:45 p.m. and I am running in the dark.
It keeps me calm.
My feet pound the pavement. The sound is familiar.
It keeps me calm.
With every inhale, I’m thinking of everything. With every exhale, I’m thinking of nothing.
I look ahead, not focusing on anything in particular. It’s dark. It’s raining. It keeps me calm.
This is nothing,
yet and everything.
My roommates and I bought our tree before the month of December. I started listening to Christmas music at Halloween.
I somehow ended up at Trader Joe’s on Dec. 5th, still without a chocolate Advent calendar. They were all sold out!
I asked the checkout clerk if they were going to get any more calendars in, but I guess they don’t restock “time sensitive” products like a countdown to Christmas because my answer was a straightforward, “No” followed by “those were gone pretty quick.”
I went into work the next day and told my colleagues this “sad” story — the fact that it was now Dec. 6th and I could not properly count down to Christmas.
“Are you Christian?” one of the nurses asked me after I had unfolded said “sad” story.
I sheepishly answered “no” and she followed up with a “What’s an Advent calendar, anyway?”
I couldn’t believe that this middle-age, well-educated woman did not know what a (chocolate) Advent calendar was! I described the rectangular boxes that most of them come in with pictures of Santa or Rudolph on them. I described how there are little “windows” you open and behind each one is a piece of chocolate shaped like some sort of holiday-item. I told her you can only eat one chocolate per day, you’re counting down to Christmas after all.
Her response to all that was something like, “huh.” She didn’t seem amused. Our other coworker seemed to also be surprised that she didn’t know what a chocolate Advent calendar was.
Enter Dec. 10th.
I was well-rested Monday morning (Dec. 10th). I woke up 20 minutes before my alarm went off. But, it was a Monday. I wanted to stay in my warm bed. It was dark and cold outside. When I arrived to the office, I hadn’t shaken off my Monday blues.
I walked in and on my desk was A CHOCOLATE ADVENT CALENDAR!
I looked at my coworker who I share the office with. She also had one on her desk.
“Yeah, I don’t know who brought them. They were here when I got here,” she said.
Now, my roommates and I are playing catch up to the countdown to Christmas. (Thanks to the elf who brought them — aka my coworker who now knows what a chocolate Advent calendar is).
I went runner-nerdy today. It wasn’t even 5 p.m. yet but I left the house with my new headlamp secured tightly around my fleece ear-warmer-type- headband. Within minutes I had it turned on.
I thought the clunky light would hold me back. It would be “too heavy.” It would make me run slower. It would annoy me. Not really.
It actually made me feel safe. (That’s the main reason I
invested in one took an extra one my dad had purchased in a two-set from Costco). I swear one or two drivers stopped to let me cross the road because my prominent light was shining into their faces. (When other runners came running toward me, I felt kind of bad that the light was shining in their faces. I wish there were some sort of dimming feature. Hello, headlamp designers, are you guys listening??)
But, in all seriousness. Whenever I see a biker/cyclist out on the road after 4 p.m. or before 8 a.m. without any type of light feature attached to their person or bike, I think (or say aloud with whoever is with me,) “God, they are so stupid! Do they want to get hit by a car?” No, they do not want to. And, me, being a runner, do not want to (get hit by a car) either.
Today I ran my fastest time to Green Lake, around Green Lake and back home from Green Lake than any other time — and a few of those other times I was actually trying for a fast time. I came home and stopped my watch at the same corner I always stop it for all my runs. I looked down at my watch and the headlamp light shined onto the numbers — I didn’t even need to press the watch backlight button! — 40:00. I ran 40 minutes flat (OK, and some mili seconds). All previous times, I would clock in somewhere between 43 and 45 minutes.
It feels good to be fast.
It feels good to be fast running with a headlamp.
It feels good to be fast running with a headlamp being safe.
(OK, I’ll stop now).