Monday, December 17, 2012

Remembering Childhood

By Susan Berger

Well...Tis the season. I love the holidays. I love the lights and the songs and the feelings of good will and anticipation.
I do not love the tension, the anxiety of trying to do everything right and on time. Of finding the perfect present. The illusion that there needs to be more money. I wish I never felt those things, but I do sometimes.

Twenty years when my children were young and I was a harried mother, I wrote this poem:

The Carols are caroled. The gingerbread's made.

The turkey's not bought yet. The bills are half paid.

The kids are both fighting. The gifts are not wrapped

It's six days till Christmas and we are all zapped!

 I want back my childhood, the joy and delight,

The magic and wonder of Christmas Eve night.

It's odd being grown and the mother of two.

What quality time? I'm just running a zoo!
Oh I wish that a Fairy was sitting right here,

She would just wave her wand and make Christmas appear.

She'd sparkle the gifts and then light up the tree.

And I'd look, and I'd marvel, and I would be free.

Still, at night, when I gaze at each young sleeping face,

I know that, for me, there is no other place.

So I cling to bright moments and take them for proof

That reindeer still land, in our dreams, on the roof.

I think at this time of year we. as writers, need to remember our childhood. Or as William Goldman, author of The Princess Bride, might have put it:

Childhood: The Good Parts Version.
 We need to remember a time when the world was full of wonder. We need to remember the magic. How it felt to believe.
I still remember joyous anticipation I felt as a child when the TV news anchor reported Santa had been sighted.

I remember lying in my bed tense with excitement staring up at my neighbors peaked snow covered roof, sure I would spot the sleigh and those tinkling belled reindeer any moment.

My believing memories fuel my writing. I want to play in my writing with other believers in a world when anything is possible.

Have you got a special believing memory you can share with us?

I hope so. Happy Holidays. These last two pictures are from this year's Gingerbread House Decorating Party, one of my favorite Christmas traditions now in its 31st year.


  1. I love your poem, Susan; it holds lots of truths for many of us.

  2. Dear Sister You, Love your poem and the magical joy and wonder you have always shared with those of us around you!
    All my friends tell me how much they really LOVE YOU and its true... You are magnificent, wonderful, beautiful and an example of a fabulous attitude.... no matter what!
    You were my childhood heroine and you are my adult heroine! I hope I spelled this correctly!!! The poem is every mothers dream and lots of Dads too!!!! Keep sharing!!!!! XXOOO Kel

  3. It was supposed to read Dear Sister SUE..... I couldnt figure out how to link this message to me, since I dont have any of the accounts it listed so I remain anonymously... your kid sister

  4. A Christmas book related to your poem would be fabulous!!!!!!!! Hope you submit it immediately!

  5. Loved the baby photo. While everyone can have a special holiday, it seems that those with children (perfect ages are 3 to 5) or the elderly (going through second childhood? ) are those with the spirit I remember from my childhood days. The holidays held before the tension of making a living and caregiving duties break in. I will share a fond memory by saving that the character in my short story, "A Place at the Table," in the Yuletide Wish Anthology is based on real experiences of sitting at the children's table. Helen

  6. What a wonderful post and a great poem! Tommy and I are planning on making the Gingerbread House party next year!

  7. Thanks Kris. I will look forward to having you at the party next year and seeing what wonderful creation Tommy comes up with.

  8. Wonderful poem!!!!! Happy Holidays, xo Amy

    1. Coming from you, Amy, that is high praise indeed. I really enjoyed Three Wise Girls. I lent my copy of How I Saved Hanukkah to Hilde for Victoria to read. I know she will love it.

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  10. Lovely post, Sue. I have SOOOOO many cherished Christmas memories. I guess the chief memory is the raging Christmas Eve parties my parents had every year - the house a blaze with lights and decorations, filled with family friends and neighbors, a roaring fire in the fire place, our Golden Retriever (Taffy) beside herself with all the guests to great and get petted by, and me and my sister flitting from person to person, getting attention and Christmas greetings. It was so hard to get to sleep with that party going on downstairs, but somehow, we managed. And then, in the morning, PRESENTS galore! My mom continues the Christmas Eve party tradition, scaled down but still much fun, and I'm looking forward to it Monday night.

    1. Karolina, I have been treasuring your memory all day. What a beautiful word picture you painted.

  11. Susan, I'm with you - the joy, wonder and excitement of Christmas belongs to children. We grown ups need to preserve it for the "wee ones" as long as we can. This year was a simple Christmas - with my brother ill - and we were less stressed, more able to appreciate simple things. May it be so again - a time of peace, love, prayer, thanksgiving, joy, and wonder. Thank you for the poem and these memories.

  12. Thank you, Penelope for taking the time to comment. Last year my sister and I spent Christmas in Hawaii with our brother, knowing it was it last Christmas. This year I got to spend it with my son and daughter in law. We played games and ate and had a wonderful time. I rejoice with everyone who had a good Christmas this year. And I believe 2013 will be a year of wonderful surprises. Blessings.


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