Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Skater's Waltz

Countdown to Christmas 19 days

Christmastime is often called a "magical" time. There are millions of images and expectations on how to create the "perfect" holiday. I am here to tell you that perfection comes with a price. There are no magic elves that decorate the house. Someone has to bake all those cookies. Presents don't purchase themselves with money that grows on trees.

As a kid I didn't understand all that yet. Why can't we have more lights on the house? Where are all the cookies that look exactly like in this book? Why can't I have a new bike AND a trip to Disneyland? I believed the hype which made me certain to be disappointed. My parents did their best to give me the wonder of Christmas, then quickly backpedaled when they realized they needed to show me the dirty underbelly of how Christmas works.

I remember being around 14 or so and my mom and I were getting ready to bake cookies. It sounds like one of those magical Hallmark moments that memories are made of. What you need to know is that my mother was one of those people who ran a very tight schedule and this was THE DAY she had put aside FOUR HOURS to get all those cookies DONE. She was (and still is) a firm believer in the adage, "if you're going to make a mess in the kitchen, make it worth your time, make it a BIG mess."

There we were in the middle of the kitchen, four hours on the clock, tensions mounting as ingredients were pulled out and matched up to recipes (oh yes, we'd be making ALL the season's cookies in four hours or less). I don't remember what the topic was (no one ever remembers) but we started to argue. That's too much, that's not enough, you don't have time, I want that one, you can't have it, this sucks, you're not very grateful, fine I don't want to help, fine you get no cookies this year, good because these suck... and then "it" arrived.

On the stereo in the background came on The Skater's Waltz.

I gasped (yes, I know, how dramatic), "I love this song!" and I grabbed my mother's hand and began to "skate" around her in my stocking feet. My mother started to laugh and pull her hand away to get back to her baking, "C'mon mom! Skate with me!" and I pulled her down the hallway. We skated through the house, around into the living room where we spun around in bigger circles, then made our way back to through the dining room and into the kitchen. The song ended, I bowed to my partner, "You're so much fun," said my mother. "Thank you for the skate, kind lady," I replied. Forgetting our conflict of 3 minutes before, we put our aprons on and returned to our cookies.

This song always takes me back to that day. I still skate in my socks.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

You're a good son. I know Barb is proud of you and so am I.