by Maxwell Maveus, sophomore writing coach
I was holding in my hand the last reminder of the past.
It sparkled and glistened in the twinkling lights,
Serving as a delicate reminder of our past delights.
I covered it gently in tissue and placed it away,
In hopes that my memories would never fray.
I feared this Christmas might be different from the last, but
Why reminisce over an experience of the past?
The tree stood tall as a beacon of hope
All I could do that year was mope.
Now in the future, I recall with envy
That Christmas Eve which never was to be
A melancholy hung over us that night, the snow stifling our feelings of joy. It wasn’t very noticeable, and it was more like a mist amid our happy feelings. We tried to ignore it with food and gifts, but it was omnipresent. The night is one I look back upon with joy, but what made it difficult was knowing it would never happen again.
It was December 2018. Many families have their holiday traditions, and ours happens to be celebrating Christmas. My father had recently gotten engaged to my current stepmother, Jen. Our home was to be put on sale in January. My parents had been divorced for the majority of my life, and so our tradition was to celebrate Christmas twice: once with my father on Christmas Eve and once with my mother on Christmas Day. We would always have a filet and cookies and open gifts around our fireplace. Unlike some divorcées, my parents considered themselves good friends. We still spent Christmas Eve together, and so it was one of the few times our whole family was along.
My father became engaged to Jen shortly after her pregnancy was announced. He asked for the blessing of my brother and me, which we gave. I knew everything was going to change from that moment forward; I just hadn’t realized the pace that it would. And with that ring, a new future for all of us began, starting with my holiday traditions.
The night began well enough. To an outsider, it would have looked like every Christmas Eve we had spent together. We lit the fire and laughed at old stories; we ate a nice meal and downed the cookies; we opened gifts to great delight. Yet, the future found its way into our night. Afterward, when the night was over, I realized nothing was ending. Yes, things are changing, but it’s not a house that matters, or even that my family comes together on that particular night. It’s the feelings between all of us. Of course, it was still painful and sad to say goodbye to things of the past, but I began to look toward the future with a feeling of hope and optimism.
As of writing this, I am about to have the same holiday with a new family. I have a half brother and step-siblings, a new house, and a step-mom. So much has changed, and while I will always cherish the past in my heart, I look forward to starting a new tradition. The holidays are not about history; they’re about the present, and what someone chooses to make of them.