If you have never watched the Pixar movie, Inside Out, I would highly recommend it. It is entertaining and it provides an interesting lens for looking at our memories and the emotions associated with them.
An unexpected twist in the plot of the movie comes when the character Joy realizes that some happy memories (represented by yellow bowling ball like spheres) are being stored in the emerging adolescent brain as yellow spheres tinged with blue (representing sadness).
It is an astute illustration of the reality of our life experiences as we age. There are very few moments of pure unbridled joy stored in my brain. Even the happiest times involve a bit of sorrow, or maybe regret.
I have been thinking of those yellow balls tinged with blue as I ponder the lessons this Christmas time is bringing me.
Our family (like many other families) had an unusual Christmas celebration. We planned for weeks how we could gather safely. We were nearly derailed by accidental exposure to Covid but in the end we all got to be together for a few hours on Christmas Day.
I passed out blinking Christmas necklaces to the kids as they arrived. Hoping to set a festive mood.
I had not foreseen the obstacles an outdoor Christmas brings! Our area had endured yet another rainstorm on Christmas Eve. Our backyard resembled Minnesota in miniature as numerous puddles dotted the grass.
All of the kids wore boots and were well dressed for the now frigid temperatures, (we actually had snow flurries during our party!❄️) but the dampness made it difficult for the kids to run and play . Our youngest granddaughter, Reggie, has just turned one and is beginning to walk. She was stuck inside a front pack carrier or tucked away within her parents’ coats so she could at least stay warm. There was no place for her to get down and stretch her legs that did not involve cold mud.
For me, the worst part was when the two five year olds and the three year old had their hands turn painfully cold during the meal we were trying to enjoy. I felt like I should have foreseen that this would happen, but I have never hosted an outdoor Christmas party before. (Lesson learned!)
Grandma guilt and sadness
These things will remain imprinted in my memory. It is the part of my memory ball that is most definitely blue.
Joy reigned in other moments on Christmas Day.
I heard Martin ask one of his aunts to come with him into the Christmas room ( our new back porch!). 🎄
The kids all talked excitedly about the gifts that Santa had left them and they were speculating about the contents of the sacks of toys and goodies that were waiting for them to open later in the afternoon.
The delight we took in watching them open those gifts was great!
Betsy has learned all kinds of new group games this semester at college and they loved playing “Bang!” in a circle. Much laughter ensued!
Very soon after opening their gifts our visiting children packed their muddy selves into their vehicles and I suppose turned their heaters on high so they could thaw out on the way home.
I am most grateful that they made the effort to come. I would deem all of the grandkids and their parents very hearty for enduring the cold covid Christmas at Grandpa and Grandma’s. I hope some of them remember it and can tell the others how we managed on that freezing cold day…
There was a lot of Joy, mixed with sadness.
As I make my way through the days of Christmas I miss our usual way of visiting and connecting with each other. I was finishing up the Sunday paper yesterday and I burst into tears out of the blue.
I don’t always read the comics but my eye fell on this one and I was overwhelmed with grief over the things I am missing. I just sobbed in my husband’s arms.
Last night our son John and his wife Katie invited us over to walk around their neighborhood to see the beautiful light displays. We strolled around with their family for nearly an hour, all the while the girls chattered excitedly about the new games they had been playing and pointing out their favorite decorations. The evening ended with steaming cups of BYO cocoa in their front yard.
In trying to keep each other safe we are giving up so much.
But we are marching on with hope, knowing that there is an end in sight.
Cheers to the end of 2020 and the wild pendulum ride that we are stuck on. May 2021 bring all of us less sadness and more Joy!