Grown Up Christmas

Grown up Christmas

is a time machine

is a particular kind of grief

is a disappointment

is releasing expectations

is about not gripping too tightly

letting the day slip from your hands

it’s just a day, anyway.

Grown up Christmas

is on a Wednesday

bookended by work

operating shifts

happy holiday expressions murmured

as you lock up for the night.

Grown up Christmas

is a sad, starchy Santa hat

worn by the guy at your hometown gas station

even on the 26th of December

in 68 degree heat.

Grown up Christmas

is trying to close a suitcase

that you’ve packed too tightly

memories oozing out

that you’d rather stay zipped up.

is catching your brother’s eyes

and suddenly he’s twelve

a twinkle in his eyes

a blink —

and it’s gone.

There’s a clear Before and After

A demarcating line

It was and then it wasn’t.

Grown up Christmas

is the definition of the unique type of grateful sadness

that characterizes nostalgia.

Grown up Christmas

is straddling different versions of yourself

is the muscle memory of teenage angst

is eating cereal for dinner

is stealing your sister’s clothes.

Grown up Christmas

feels a lot like

the particular striking, sobering moment

when you notice your parent’s graying hair

and wrinkling foreheads

and chronic deep lung coughs

for the first time.

Grown up Christmas

is just another day

is a whole universe wrapped up in a music box

(it plays Clair de Lune when you open it)

is a remembering

is a forgetting

is a letting go.

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