• Karen Heckman Stork

Christmases Then and Now

One of the more unfortunate aspects of aging is that families inevitably scatter, sometimes across the nation, or even around the world. As parents, we often find ourselves separated from our children and grandchildren. When the annual holiday season rolls around, we may be reminded of happier days when our children or grandchildren were young and the whole family was together for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But that’s just the circle of life. Each generation has their moment on the stage when they are in charge, busy with careers and raising the future generation. The “older” generation must then relinquish their time to shine and walk off the stage. That doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to enjoy our life, if we’re lucky,

It was this feeling of longing which made we update a poem I first wrote when my daughter was only seven years old. The first stanza of the following poem was written in 1978. A couple of years ago I added another verse about what Christmas means for me now that my family is scattered to Virginia, Tennessee and Washington state. It’s entitled Christmas Is…..

Christmas is – youthful squeals of pure delight,

Children who won’t sleep tonight;

Celebrating Jesus’ birth,

Santa Claus, laughter and mirth;

Kisses under mistletoe,

Trees and candles all aglow;

Greeting cards sent far and near,

Friends and family and good cheer.

But more than anything above,



Today, Christmas means –

Baking cookies but no grandchildren around

Heaping multi-colored sprinkles in a mound.

Shopping early and mailing gifts across the miles,

Hoping to bring long-remembered giggles and smiles.

Missing the tour of city lights on the bus,

The joy of being together – all of us.

No longer in Lincoln on Christmas day,

I rely on Face Time while the family’s away.

But no matter if we’re together or apart,

Christmas is always in our heart;

Because more than anything above,



NOTE: I'll be off-line for a couple of weeks enjoying the holidays!

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