The day after Christmas can be a downer for a lot of people. The parties are done, the gifts are unwrapped, and the leftover turkey is in the fridge waiting to be turned into sandwiches. For me, the holidays aren’t over. In just a week we get New Year’s Day, which is a great time to refocus and a new chance to make every day count.
But it also signals the passing of time. It’s that passing that is making me stop and think this year. My boys are getting older, and even as we went into Christmas week I almost wanted time to stand still. With every passing Christmas, that’s one less I have to spend with them before they grow up and move away. Today I know I have fewer holidays to spend with them. Just as they’re getting interesting.
I’ve been watching myself with curiosity as this has happened this week. I never used to feel this way, but I suppose it is inevitable as I grow older. My own mortality comes into clearer focus, and I realize that life will change. There’s no stopping it.
Which is why, I now realize, I enjoy reading so much.
This occurred to me last night when I was awakened by my oldest going to bed – a full hour after I had. It finally happened that my kids have a later bedtime than I do. And as I lie there thinking about that, I realized that no matter how old I am, I can still go back into my favorite books and they will stay the same as they were the first time I read them. The answer to life, the universe and everything is still 42; Scarlet will realize her feelings for Rhett too late; and Sherlock Holmes will still be one step ahead of Watson.
The first book I wrote as an adult is, I now realize, just for me. It’s unpublishable, but I still love it. As a friend described it, it is the book of my heart. I can go back to that now and, even though I wrote it nearly ten years ago, it is the same as the day I typed it into Word. It still makes me feel the hope, the despair, and the joy.
When I read a book, I feel it, you see. I bet many avid readers do. It’s almost like I’m there and a part of the story. And when I go back to re-read my favorite stories, I can be a part of it again. I can relive it and take myself back in time. So unlike life, which flies by a million miles and minute unnoticed until we realize it’s half over.
So today I will enjoy the holidays with my kids before they’re gone, but I’ll also pull out an old favorite and read for awhile. Because even if life sails by in a flash, there are some moments that are frozen in time and I can live them over and over. Maybe I’ll even write down a few, while I’m at it. Make my own moments frozen in time.