Tri-City Ledger -

By Stephanie Cunningham
Ledger Staff 

A moment of pause for Christmas


December 19, 2019

Memories...What is it that spans them? I mean think about it...over the years, as you age, certain little moments get lodged in your head and your brain takes those moments and records them. They become unshakeable. They can be brought up by various things like a smell, a touch, a sight or a sound. What is it about those moments that as you go about your everyday life a certain thing comes up and instantly whisks you away on the train of ‘Memories Time Warp’ and you find yourself transported back in time reliving a moment that you never expected to back in. I understand that this can sometimes be an unpleasant experience for some, especially for those that were the victims of abuse, but I thank God everyday that that is not the case for me. No, for me it's been simple things from my childhood. A particular tune of a bell as it chimes for the church, the smell of Estee Lauder perfume or the sound of crunching snow.

I've spoke about this particular memory before, but the older that I get, the more distant and somehow more real it becomes. You see, I just can't shake that sound of the ‘perfectly’ fallen snow crunch under the weight of booted feet. It's there. Even if I hear sounds somehow similar it transports me back to when I was a kid trapsing through the woods in Oklahoma with my mom in search of the perfect Christmas tree.

I can't begin to describe the joy that I felt on that voyage. That is a special delight that my childlike heart will have tucked away for the ages. Yet, it got me thinking on something....the reason that that memory is so precious and dear to me is that it did, in fact, occur around Christmas time, but my word, how Christmas has changed for me as an adult.

Most of you know, I came from very humble beginnings. My mama and grandparents certainly instilled in me a will to make things happen and if I didn't make things happen, then that just meant to try harder or to find a different way of looking at the situation. It has come to my attention that not everyone was raised this way, and while that makes me sad, that's a conversation for a different column. So getting back to my point, what is so different about the memories that I have from my humble upbringing to the garish, glittery mess that we now accept as a typical 'Christmas'?

Well, I, again, don't have all the answers, but, extrovert that I am,I'd be willing to hazard a guess:

We are too caught up with what the 'Johnsons' would think.

When did Christmas stop being about spending quality time with the family and become about seeing how much we could squeeze into the two to three weeks off everyone has for the holiday season? When did we start caring more for how we compared to others and the job that they were doing and stop caring about actually spending the time off just sitting and enjoying each other's company. Nowadays with travel plans, road trips to see all the family and airline tickets with time constraints, we've lost sight of the true meaning of togetherness and simply enjoying the holidays.

Now I write this full well knowing that I don't have plans to go home to see my family this Christmas. I love them with all my heart and hope that they understand that I am taking this year off to simply enjoy the holiday 'off' time with my kids. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I simply want to experience the moment and enjoy my children. No holds. No expectations. So as December 24 and 25 rolls around, I encourage you to do the same. Hit pause for a moment. Live in the minute. And maybe, just maybe, in 10 years, a certain touch, sight or sound will bring you back and you'll appreciate your moment of pause.


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