He looked out into the crowd of families into the sea of anticipatory joy and stressful frustration. It is the day before Christmas and they had been waiting much longer than any child should be expected to wait nicely in line just to sit on his lap and ask for their Christmas dreams.
Sitting in his chair surrounded by the red and green of the holiday season with the sounds of bells and Christmas music filling his ears he notices the undercurrent of rustling shopping bags and the dings of cell phones. He takes a deep breath of the pine and Christmas cookie sweetened scented air when he notices the slightest tinge of baby dampness left by the chunky infant he held for photos while her parents gleamed with such delight he couldn’t help but feel his own longing be ignited.
The longing of the grandchildren he has yet to hold and spoil. His longing that is only intensified by the painful longing of his daughter who has yet to be able to birth a child and call herself a mother. He looks down into his empty lap careful to stop the tears from falling down onto his rosy cheeks and into his white beard.
Instead, in this moment, much like most moments in his life, he chooses the love-filled joy because in this choice he honors these lost grandchildren who have yet to breathe the Christmas air. He has learned through this journey there is room for both; the longing grief and the loving joy. He is even more sure of this lesson as he gazes back out into the line of families waiting with equal amounts of Christmas joy and Christmas stress.
He takes a deep breath, musters a smile from deep inside from both pain and love and welcomes the next family up,
Ho, ho, ho Merry Christmas!