I talk a lot about how I'll spend the second half of my life. When my daddy was 50 he used to say he knew he'd live to be 100 because he felt half dead. Very funny, Paw-Paw. He didn't live that long, but he did get to know all his grandchildren, and they all have fond, if fuzzy, memories of him.
As I think about it though, life isn't really divided into halves. To me, it's divided into generations. Christmas time has brought this to my mind.
I'm remembering the childhood season when I was the grand recipient of every good thing. I had a very stable, middle class childhood which afforded me the luxury of dreaming weeks in advance about what Santa Claus would bring. We never called him just Santa. That sounded Yankee to us, like saying "fries" for french fries or "shake" for a milk shake. I guess we like a lot of words in the South.
Anyway, I also spent a lot of time blowing the tinsel on the tree from across the room, because it fascinated me that seconds would pass before my breath actually reached the tree. I expected breath to be instantaneous, like light. But it wasn't. Turns out light isn't either. I'll bet Einstein spent his childhood years blowing on tinsel on trees.
During those years, my parents were the center of my love life. If my mother even noticed me staring hard at a toy commercial, that whatever-it-was would appear miraculously wrapped under the tree. I was a princess and my throne room was every corner of my parents' castle. (of course, during the teen years they became despots and I was held captive in the dungeon with no food and water, but that's for another time).
Then I woke up one morning, freed from my chains, only to discover that I had become the next generation (not to be confused with Star Trek, The Next Generation which wasn't made yet). It seems like over night I had a new love life, a new family and I wielded control of Christmas memories for all of us.
I took it very seriously. We had Advent Dwarfs. I won't go into detail but will only ask, "What do you get when Snow White gets lost seven days before Christmas and her entourage takes the opportunity to teach Thomas and Leah lessons on the coming Messiah?" I thought it was brilliant. I loved being in charge of the decorations, the tree, the parties, the Warm and Happy Christmas punch and, best of all, the presents. My dear children spent endless hours strapped in their car seats on Saturday mornings so I could create magic on Christmas morning from garage sale finds. It was just fun! (for Greg and me, anyway).
The next "season" of my life is "Christmas yet to come" and will see me as the eccentric purple-wearing matriarch. I will be the "Grammy" (or some variation thereof). At this point I'm not sure if I'll be living in close proximity to the family or distant, like my parents did. There are so many ways I can visualize myself as a grandma; all warm, sentimental, and full of new love.
I honestly don't know what this coming era will look like. It will be a complete surprise and I'm glad. I anticipate it like an over-sized box with my name on it, wrapped in silver, reflecting the delicate tinsel on my mother's tree.