... and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
— e.e. Cummings [little tree]
The season spins more rapidly round each year. New Year’s baby grows into Valentine’s toddler, then into Memorial Day adolescent, Fourth of July pre-teen, Labor Day teen, Veterans Day 20-something, Thanksgiving middle-ager, and Christmas elder. These days, they spin by.
Where did children in footy Christmas pjs, pointing in wonder at their first ornament, go? Did they grow? Did they evolve? Caught in a flash of light, they are suspended, etched or embossed in memory; little snowmen, little Christmas trees, little hands, little smiles, little bright eyes.
These are the material things of which holiday dreams are made.
(Reality check: There is a photo of my two children, young, living in a rental home in Forest, Miss., and they are happy. We were a young family, each parent working to provide our children with all that they may want. As is always the case with children, they want everything come Christmas time. We wanted to give it to them and sometimes, in hindsight, we may have given them too much. We, as are so many parents, are often left with the question: Did we give them the right things?)
Two little children were sitting by the fire one cold winter’s night. All at once they heard a timid knock at the door, and one ran to open it.
There, outside in the cold and the darkness, stood a child with no shoes upon his feet and clad in thin, ragged garments. He was shivering with cold, and he asked to come in and warm himself.
“Yes, come,” cried both the children; “you shall have our place by the fire. Come in!”
— Lucy Wheelock, “The Legend of the Christmas Tree”