Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our Time/Revisiting the Goonies at Christmas

Don’t you realize, The next time you see sky, it'll be over another town. The next time you take a test, it'll be in some other school. Our parents, they want the bestest stuff for us. But right now they gotta do what's right for them, 'cause it's their time. Their time, up there. Down here it's our time. It's our time down here. That's all over the second we ride up Troy's bucket.
Mikey Walsh- The Goonies

Back home for a couple of weeks for Christmas, and revisiting some of my own old haunts. It always puts me in a nostalgic mood, and I try and remember the good times.

There’s something else though. With each passing year I feel a little less in the Christmas spirit, and I often think about why that is. Has something changed about the holiday, or has something changed about me? Granted, the children in my family are getting older, and Santa Claus and Christmas songs have slowly been replaced by Iphones and Instagram. So it goes.

This all came back into my head as I was driving near Astoria Washington, home of the infamous “Goonies” and close to all of the places they had their adventures. The above speech about that piece of their childhoods being “our time” hit especially close to home. Adults plan, and count, and worry, trying to keep the trains running on time, but that means very little to a kid.

No, to a kid time works a little differently. Putting together a Christmas list may be the most important thing they do that year. For little kids the combined terror and anticipation of seeing Santa Claus can be enough to trigger an anxiety attack, (in both the parents as well as the children). The night before Christmas, time comes to a virtual halt and the anticipation becomes almost too much to bear. I was up at 4 A.M for 20 straight years as a kid. That’s a true story.

As a child psychologist, I get to watch all of this stuff happen every year, and it always makes me smile. It’s their time. Especially at Christmas. But perhaps even beyond that, we as counselors, teachers and parents, need to understand that childhood IS their time. All of this stuff, the first trip to Santa Claus, the first year seeing the shiny new bike in the living room, and all those memories of Christmas, are happening only once for them, even as we as the adults stress, and worry, and count, and budget. If we don’t make childhood special for children, they don’t get more time.

It goes pretty fast..

So this year I’m going to remember that, although I’m no longer a child experiencing all of these memories for the first time, perhaps I can learn to live on the good ones I have of Christmases’ past. I was fortunate enough to have some wonderful Christmases, and people took the time to make it nice for me. Me being cynical and grumpy as an adult doesn’t add one ounce of cheer to the season, and I have a lot to be grateful for. And perhaps it’s not over for us adults either. Personally I packed a number of Christmas outfits to wear just in case. So I’ll be the jackass dressed as Cousin Eddy wearing deer antlers at the Christmas party.

I was kind of a jackass anyway..

Merry Christmas..

Ya filthy animals…

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