“i made my family disappear!” remember that line from the movie, “home alone?” i’ve been thinking about it since the other night when i curled up on the sofa with a cup of hot cocoa in one hand and the clicker in the other channel surfing cable for a holiday movie. macaulay culkin came to my mind. wide eyed, eight and unabashedly darling jumping for joy on his bed when he discovers his entire annoying whacky family has taken off on their christmas vacation without him. he’s alone. he’s the man of the house and he’s free at last! his holiday wish has come true. it’s fabulous until it isn’t. meanwhile, his mother is on the airplane halfway to hysterical when she finally remembers the one thing she forgot to take from home was her youngest son, kevin. “ kevin!!” a funny fantasy, and a holiday classic. and this year, i suspect when i finally get to see it again it will be with different eyes. the movie is 20 years older than when it first came out and for that matter, so am i. so is my family. and like that movie, somehow we are all mercifully still here. for all my younger years i may have wished once or twice they’d just disappear, i now have tears of joy that wish hasn’t come true.
christmas changes. i still have memories of being eight at christmas growing up. my parents didn’t have much to give us but we didn’t feel deprived. we thought we had everything. we had each other and music. my parents were my heroes. we lived in view of two beautiful mountains. it seemed to me it was christmas every day. as you get older siblings move, get married, start businesses, have children then move again. parents start to turn into people in your eyes. you know they’re imperfect like you and all the other misfit lovely toys in the family. it feels more like christmas on regular days than it does on the actual day. then it’s all family, a lot of anticipation, some high anxiety and a wonderland of whacky. our stories get splinters and a few more thorns in them. we can all push each others’ buttons a little more, ask a ridiculously annoying question or two, pick out a “just wrong” present and laugh harder with each other than we will ever be able to laugh again with anybody else on the planet. even macaulay himself ultimately realized this at the end of the movie when he says,
“okay, this is extremely important. will you please tell santa that instead of presents this year, i just want my family back?”
that i am 49 years old and find myself with my siblings and my nieces and nephews and my own family and both imperfect and loving parents for christmas is a luxury. when they’re gone they’re gone. santa will not bring them back. we’re not a norman rockwell painting. we are a whacky family. and like yours, this season we will be making our own holiday movie – part comedy, part drama, a little mystery, a musical, a pinch of horror movie and a lot of documentary that our memories will have to look back on. let us thank god we get “picked up” again for yet another sequel. we are classics. this year, may we all know it’s a wonderful life.
peace and family blessings