Went to a friend/coworkers place for a Christmas work dinner type thing. Good company, food, and the many, many kids didn't leave lasting scars on each other, so, a success in my book. There was a Secret Santa with all the excitement and bubbling enthusiasm that free loot tends to engender and the kids were relatively happy about what they got, or well-bred enough not to make obvious their bitter disappointment.
What was interesting was realizing how far I've come, well, how far anyone comes when they hit adulthood. Doubly so when you have kids and you see how excited they are about the whole thing and its stark contrast to your own mild enthusiasm.
For me it's become a thing to endure. Hopefully something I can make memorable for my brood. Christmas magic and all that. Christmas songs, eggnog, turkey, Christmas cookies and what have you. But I'm far beyond being in the moment, the suspended magic of it. Because, well, I have a bloody mortgage don't I? And responsibilities, and don't see how cool a train set is, and usually think of it in relation to how it fits the family budget.
So. It's sobering. Looking at them have their fun. It's great, it makes me smile, I enjoy seeing them enjoy themselves, but I'm never going to get that place they are now.
Course, I can eat as much Christmas chocolate as I want and drink gallons upon gallons of egg-nog without having to give the what for to anyone except perhaps my cardiologist or coroner, which was the Great Freedom I yearned for when i was a child. I could also walk into a Toys R Us and literally buy anything I wanted for myself, now that I don't find any of it remotely interesting. Odd, life.
The dinner was on an island, and we took a water taxi out there. A boat. It's about a 25 minute ride, going out there was choppy as heck, but fun in its own way. Coming back it was pretty smooth, except somewhere near the end where I was starting to calculate how long I could tread water in near freezing water while keeping my kids afloat. Not long.
One was asleep, one didn't even notice we were more pitching at 45 degree angles than merely hitting chop. I'm a worrisome sort, so maybe the other parents didn't think much of it, but if they did, and I imagine they did, it seems like another thing about adulthood. Being the wizard behind the curtain, aware of how all things works (gifts, Santa, possibility of drowning and hypothermia enroute to home), knowing about the bitter realities, worrying about the horrifying consequences, but making no note of it, shouldering it, keeping on.
Mind you, the roast beef was quite good.