This morning I talked to my long lost daughter. One of them anyway. We talked via e-mail, as I had sent best wishes for the holiday. She mentioned that Christmas is not the same anymore. And of course it isn’t. It never is.
I can identify, because for me Christmas hasn’t been the same for decades now.
What Jamila is missing, of course, is her own childhood, a feeling of familiarity and security, a foundation that seemed permanent, yet proved transitory. Children count on their parents at the deepest level—and even though I was not her biologic father, I was nonetheless the closest thing she had known to a father. Twelve years is a long time to a child. Twelve years is equal to permanence.
And then the whole thing crashed, as she said in her e-mail. The whole thing just disappeared.
What is Christmas? What is family? Where is home?
It is what we remember. It is the elusive set of feelings and smells and tastes and faces and voices and times and journeys emanating yet from the past like specters out of Dickens. The bell above the door tinkles, the knob turns, and no amount of locks and bolts can keep us from the visitation.
What is it by which we find ourselves confronted?
It is love, of course. Pure and simple.