We didn’t have a Christmas tree up nor lights or any of the material culture of seasonal happiness that fills most people’s homes. We didn’t get Ziya presents either. Don’t gasp. She’s two. Guess what? She doesn’t care. When I explained that Christmas was Tuesday, she just nodded. She didn’t yet know when Tuesday was in relation to any other day of the week. She doesn’t yet know the days of the week.
I actually want to preserve this moment for as long as I can. The time before she gets absorbed by what is supposed to matter even if it doesn’t. The time before we have to do stuff because everyone else is. The time before any day becomes more special than another simply because people say it should be so.
This isn’t about Christmas, it’ a philosophy. Stone and I felt the same way about our wedding. It was special, but so was and should be every single other day. Love wasn’t for Valentines Day or anniversaries, and it wasn’t in presents. It was in daily regard, time and affection. Peace and joy to the world is a practice, like breathing, to fill our lives. If there is a season to remember, it’s so that very sentiment also guides and fills the rest of the year. Resolutions are to be made in every waking minute, before closing your eyes each night. What is a ‘new year’ but a marked human calendar? Each day offers each of us the chance to begin anew, to forgive and renew, to decide and to choose, to be better than we were before and to bring love to those in our midst.
I’m saying this because it’s easy to move with the emotional tide that follows various holidays or holy days, and to lose track of that centred self who must find the sacred within and without in the daily and the mundane. Zi gets gifts on days that matter for no reason except that she is alive and beautiful. I want her to value others even there seems no reason to, when no Hallmark card can easily fit.
Yet, I’m realistic that this is a losing battle against everyone including well-meaning and far wiser grandmothers, friends and family who will insist Zi be properly socialised and who will one day soon demand that Christmas comes to our household, with all everyone says it should involve. More power to them, I’m not even trying to win. I’m glad that she is growing up in a society where parang, pastelles, sorrel and house cleaning as well as time off to spend with family are usually what count the most. I’m glad she’ll understand how much people want a moment when we can collectively decide to do things differently and to be better selves tomorrow. I only hope that she can also learn that it’s not so much about Christmas presents or trees or new year resolutions or parties as much as it is about every moment we can show care, celebrate life and change our circumstance. That said, given that tonight, for the first time, she asked about Santa, whom she learned about from lord knows where, I feel quite sure there will be a tree up next Christmas. So, I’ve decided I’m going to give in early and wish you all peace and true happiness with the coming of this new year.