Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Puzzle Pieces -- A Poem to My Parents (And Maybe Yours, Too)

Christmas Eve 1991

At year's end, they appeared
The attic delivered one after another
Boxes full of handmade treasures
Accumulated, mismatched beauty
Decked in red and green
I saw and loved each one
But failed to see who propped and placed

At year's end, they appeared
The ovens delivered one after another
Trays full of hand-rolled goodness
Accumulated deliciousness
Spread with frosting and focus
I saw and tasted each one
But never noticed who floured and shaped

Fun in the snow, 1991

At year's end, they appeared
Their hands delivered one after another
Packages full of momentary glee
Accumulated, wished-for fun
I played with and used each one
But couldn't see who pondered and shopped

At year's end, they appeared
Our town delivered one after another
Hours of concerts, pageants, caroling
Accumulated memory-making
Replete with decades-old costumes and tales
I joined in each one
But never grasped the communal weight

Christmas Concert at church, 1993
At year's end, they appeared
Trucks and cars delivered one after another
Caravans of cousins, aunts and uncles
Accumulated, prayed-for reunions
I talked and feasted with each one
But never understood their true family worth

At year's end, it appeared
The box with the pieces one after another
Shelves with nutcrackers proud and painted
Accumulated, snapped-together Yuletide puzzle
I worked side-by-side each night
But didn't realize its forever-yet-fragile nature

At year's end, they appear
My own miniature Christmas lovers, one after another
Three little lives bursting with dreams
Accumulated moments of love and learning
I repeat what I've been told and taught
From oceans away, I grasp the thin thread of tradition

Like the puzzle of times now gone
I search for the foundation first
Locking each piece in place for my babes
Though I have no box for guidance.
Like the nutcrackers on the shelf
I paint on a smile and stand tall
Knowing that in the moment
The picture isn't complete

At year's end, He appears
Our Creator delivered Him, and there would be no other
A baby full of grace and truth
Accumulated eternity in his tiny hands
I now see, and place my unfinished pieces there
For him to lock and shape