The other day, a colleague was reciting for me all the gifts he had bought for his wife. As he was listing such things as sweaters and jackets, rings and earrings, remote car starters and the like, the thought entered my mind that when I am old, I do believe my mind will be more apt to dwell on and recall the moments rather than the things.
Stuff wears out, breaks, goes out of style, but expressions of love never fade. I thought about it a moment. Could I remember all the Christmas gifts my husband and I shared in our past? A few perhaps…but what comes to mind more easily are scenes shared in our past.
I remember a decade ago when we were part of a team running a 24-hour relay race. I was heading out for my lap at 3:00 am. “Do you want me to come with you?” my husband asked. I shook my head. I wouldn’t admit I was a little nervous about running the trail alone. He respected my need to do it on my own. I didn’t know until later he watched from a distance, just to make sure I was safe.
I remember watching a singer on TV. I sighed, “I wish I had a voice like that.” (Anyone who knows me, knows I can’t sing a note.) He turned and looked at me. “Your voice is how you put words on the page.”
I remember oh-so-many times, while lying in bed at night, that we howled like idiots over some ridiculous thing like ‘old people noises’; laughing uncontrollably until we wiped the tears away, then moments later, starting all over again.
I remember standing, side by side, on the top of the Tablelands in Newfoundland, both of us silent with awe.
I remember how carefully he chooses his words when I ask him his opinion on something I’m wearing that he doesn’t like. Or when he withholds his opinion on decisions he knows I have to make on my own. Or when he leaves me to walk alone on the trail, somehow knowing without words, that I need the space and quiet and solitude.
These are the things I remember. So this Christmas, we are opting out of the rat race of gift buying and going for the moment to remember. Weather permitting, we will get up early and go for a hike or a snowshoe, perhaps to the top of Shepody Mountain.
Just to see what Christmas looks like from there.