The other nite I was channel surfing and I stumbled upon the airing of the Christmas classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on CBS. It was the last fifteen minutes but I was glued to the TV. As a child it was my very favorite Christmas special and I couldn’t wait till it was on. Back then Christmas was my favorite holiday. I loved decorating the tree, baking cookies, and my grandma’s lasagne dinner which was a Christmas tradition.
As I watched Ukon Cornelius and Hermie the wanna be dentist searching for Rudolph and his family who were captured by the Bumble I heard my mom’s voice circa 1978 saying to my brother and I “Rudolph is on tonite!” I heard us respond with “Yeaaaaaa” as we clapped our hands. It was like nothing else mattered in that moment then. As those memories came flooding back my eyes started to well up and tears began to fall. I thought to myself what an idiot I was for crying over Rudolph! But then suddenly realized what the tears were really about. I felt sad about the loss of innocence. I longed for the days before I knew what dying was, before I ever lost anyone close to me, before I even knew the word “Cancer”. I thought about how simple life was then. I thought about how exciting Christmas was when I believed in Santa, how excited I was as a child to leave my letter to Santa with some milk and cookies on the kitchen table. And even more excited as I came downstairs that morning to see all the presents he left under the tree. I remembered what it was like to go to Christmas mass and have dinner at grandma’s later that day with all of us together. It was before I realized what all the yelling and arguing was about, it was when that was just a part of the day.
Today the holidays are harder because I can’t help but think about all the empty chairs around the dinner table. I can’t help but think about what could’ve been….what my life would be like if I hadn’t gone through the tough times that were thrown at me.
But then again, I know I wouldn’t be the person I am now. I just wish I could figure out how to get back some of that innocence. To get back that ability to live so freely. I remembered what that was like for just one moment as I shed tears over Rudolph…..