This Christmas was different. Why? I’m not sure. But it was. The night started off with champagne, getting caught up ( and I don’t mean it in a bad way) on everyone’s lives. Having conversations with the new college students, hearing of professors and their list of books to be read. Quick conversations in the kitchen while putting things in the oven, or on the stove. Watching the kids, talk and mingle within this large living room where multiple generations share conversation.
The day had gotten started with presents at each person’s home respectively. Then the phone calls, would you want to play tennis? Eventually the tennis game evolved. The little kids on one tennis court, and the adults playing a round robin of four games, where the two waiting on the bench could come in and two go out.
Tennis has always been the glue in my family. It is once a horrible experience, because of lessons constantly being given from the side lines. Game faces put on, suggestions, jokes about one’s inability to nail a shot, words of encouragement to beat those opposite the net, laughter about one flub or another, stern words of Oh too bad, when I or my other sibling missed a really good shot. I tried to forget all my past trepidation on the tennis court, tried to just have fun. But there were prickly moments, moments, when the individuals that compose our family pushed a little hard in one way or another. And even though, we all had moments of failure, of success with much applaud, it was ended quickly, as each of us wanted to get home to relax before the big event- Christmas dinner at my parents.
There had been suggestions that the little kids should sing for my father, who had been a really good crooner in his day, or of a juggling show, or even rapping. This didn’t sit well for me or the other like minded siblings. But what was suggested, what was felt in all the various ways between us siblings was that this Christmas should be special for my father.
My father is 83 and is still working full time. He has worked extremely hard this past year often traveling from home several times a month and having been away for one time period of 8 weeks. My father used to play the Ukelele and sing. He used to sing all kinds of songs, very sexy, and sexists songs from his times in college as we got tired around the dinner table as younglings. We’d memorize the lyrics, sing along with him, and experience something quite extraordinary.
So Ukuleles were purchased for a grand son, one for the grandfather, and eventually, after much champagne dinner and dessert, we sat around the fire, and the ukuleles came out, and the songs began. It sounded corny to those outside the room, but it was a real moment where we as a family, in all of our various manifestations, actually didn’t care what we sounded like, we just sang and laughed and remembered when we were all much younger.