You know how words trigger associations? Today my mom told me she took my niece and nephew by the Balian Mansion, and the mere mention of those two words took me far back to a sweet, sugar-cookied memory buried not so deeply in my holiday closet.
When we were kids, my parents would load us in to their neon green VW bus and drive us down to this huge, pink mansion - adorned with Christmas lights and stuffed elves and reindeer and snowmen. Tour buses would pull up, unloading families and tourists and children in front of this ornate, over-tinseled, garish building. In other words? Heaven to a little girl.
I love those moments like today, when a mere mention of a word or two can trigger such a strong and positive association. In a moment's time, I was transported to a different era in my life, when I was young, believing and hopeful; a time when I dreamt about Santa and left plates of cookies for him (and ecstatically made my sisters reread the note --written by my mom -- he sent me thanking me and telling me what a good girl I was).
As you grow older and there's bills to pay, mouth's to feed, stockings to stuff, it's easy to lose sight of that youthful wonderment. Particularly with the rampant commercialism of the holiday. Believe you me, the running story of this holiday season is how everyone's being boxed down by the consumer next to them fighting for the same "'Builder Bob" play set.
But that moment I had today, succinctly remembering the childlike zeal I had as a 7 year old picking out Christmas gifts from Pick 'n Save for my siblings, laying out the stocking my mom made for me the year I was born, putting my own Fizzle box of ornaments on the Christmas tree and waking up at 6 in the morning and being corraled in our bedroom until our parents could wake all the kids up so we could run to our toys together...it's wonderfully priceless.