A Room With A View…
Today’s Prompt: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?
If I could zoom through time and space to anyplace at all I would go to the house in Morgan Hill where I grew up. I would be sitting at the top of our staircase with my little sister by my side. It would be the wee hours of the morning, not yet light, but not totally pitch black. It’s Christmas morning and our Father’s favorite time of the year. He’s been preparing for this morning all month long, he loves nothing more than surprises and seeing us all happy. And this is the moment he looks forward to most! It’s also one of the few memories I have of a time when my little sister and I clung together as one in solidarity. Sitting close together, excitedly huddled at the top most step, in the wee early, dark of Christmas morning…
He loves to drag out the anticipation of us two girls, lovingly torturing us with the constant reminders of what wondrous surprises awaits us on Christmas morning . He’s shopped and decorated and teased us with clues as to what Big gift we may or may not find under the tree. As Soon as December 1st comes along we’d already gone to our traditional Christmas tree lot and picked out the perfect tree. Dad loves to have it flocked, its his one bow to a lingering fondness for the snow of his youth growing up in Colorado. The tree is huge and its perfectly shaped, he loves this family outing and his enthusiasm is contagious to all us girls, including mom. He just cant wait to get home and turn on the Christmas music and begin the decorating!
Our Dad’s fondness for the Christmas holiday is one that was unparalleled, I don’t think any of our friends Dad’s ever went all out like our Dad did! And it all culminates to the wee early moments in the morning when my sister and I sit at the top of the stairs together waiting for him to finally give us permission to scurry down and see what was waiting for us under the tree. You see, this was his steadfast rule for Christmas morning, we were not to go downstairs on Christmas morning until he got up, went downstairs, started coffee, turned on the Christmas music started a roaring fire in the fireplace and all the while exclaiming…”Oh My Gosh! You girls had better bring a roll of toilet paper cuz your gonna poop your pants when you see what’s down here!”
We are ecstatic and a little annoyed with the drawn out suspense that he insists on plaguing us with. We’ve been awake for hours, who could sleep on a night like this? We began tip-toeing into our parents bedroom in the wee hours of the morning, gently and hesitantly tap, tap, tapping mom on the shoulder, trying gently to awaken her to see if we could get up yet. Only to be told, “One more hour”…more than once!
Back to bed we would march, both feeling frustrated and angry that they could be so cruel. On this one night we slept together in one bed, but only on this night. For some reason Christmas Eve was a special night to both of us and and we had an unspoken understanding between us that we would sleep together on that night only. It was a magical night and a night when we knew we would not be sleeping much. My sister and I rallied together on that night each year. We were both plagued by excitement and found solace in each other’s company as we tried to sleep just a little bit.
I miss that feeling of solidarity I had with my sister while we sat at the top of the stairs with our jammies on, arms wrapped around our knees, feeling every bit the abused kids, being forced to suffer that interminable wait! “How can he do this to us?” we would say….Meanwhile, mom was no help, she would be in her bathroom putting on makeup, fixing her hair and generally taking her time getting ready for Christmas morning. NO, my little sister and I were in this alone! At the top of the stairs anxiously awaiting the announcement that we could come down. None of our friends parents were this cruel, surely we were being abused and mistreated! hah!
Why this moment? Why this place and time? Well, you see I have very few memories of times like this when my little sister and I have been equal in our feelings of togetherness. Until very recently we’ve been estranged and have had little in common to connect us. We grew up, and life got hard. My little sister and I grew apart in such a painful way, but, is there a non-painful way to grow apart? Suddenly it seemed as though we no longer had any opportunities to sit together at the top of a staircase, anxiously waiting together for something exciting to happen. We no longer found solace in each other’s presence like we did on those torturous Christmas mornings sitting at the top of the staircase together.
In the aftershock of a family that shattered into a million little pieces my little sister became a stranger to me and I to her. The memory of sitting together on Christmas morning is a fond, distant memory of a time and a place where the two of us, sisters, were innocent and we didn’t know yet what strangers we would one day become to one another. I’d like to zoom back in time and capture those two little girls and instead of hugging my knees I’d hug her. I’d be a different big sister to my little sister. I’d stand a little closer to her. I’d talk to her more. I’d help her more. I’d know and understand her much much more. I’d be her friend. If we could just sit at the top of those stairs and have the knowledge that it didn’t need only be Christmas morning when we were in this life together. If we only knew how important we should be to each other not only on Christmas morning but in life always.
Yes, I’d zoom back through time and space to Christmas morning, at the top of the staircase. I’d sit with my little sister and together we’d face the anticipation of what was to come. Together we’d rush down the stairs running with all our might, but we’d be holding hands as we entered the living room filled with all that Holiday Joy. And, the togetherness we felt during that time of year would Stick! We wouldn’t just turn our backs on each other and go our separate ways. We’d hold on to the feeling of togetherness and not forget it as we have so sadly done. We’d find every opportunity to sit at the top of that staircase and any other staircases we came across as the years went by . And my little sister and I would just soak up that feeling of being in this life together. It seems like those moments were so fleeting and so very temporary. But, life’s not over yet, and relationships have the ability to heal and even regenerate.
While the ‘zooming back in time’ isn’t a possibility, I believe that those two little girls are not completely gone. Those two sisters are someplace in our hearts and I think there still may be a staircase in our future, figuratively speaking that is. The top of that staircase represents possibilities and possibilities faced together. My little sister and I have very recently discovered that our staircase (symbolically speaking) is no longer in our house in Morgan Hill where we grew up. And Christmas morning is no longer what we’re anticipating together, nervous and ever so excited but a renewed connection as two women who miss having a sister. We aren’t looking forward to presents lovingly bought for us on one special day. And our parents are no longer the ones doling out the anticipation of what is to come. It’s the two of us together once again. As my little sister and I begin to reacquaint ourselves with each other as adults and learn how to have each other in our perspective lives, we’re both in suspense once again… together looking forward to what may come.
What gifts await us? We’ve spent our entire adult lives without each other. We went down separate and very different paths and somehow never knew how to do it together. Now, all these years later, here we sit, together at the top of the staircase once again. The big difference now is that we’re enjoying the suspense and taking our time just knowing that the gifts aren’t going anywhere. We can soak up this time and maybe just realize that the biggest gift of all isn’t downstairs, its not under the tree and its not in another room….its a sister and she’s right here right now. This is a gift worth waiting for and a gift to cherish.