"Dad, we're not Christian, right?"
"So why do we celebrate Christmas?"
The simple questions are usually the most complex. Up until then the talk had focused on the logistics of our first New Normal Christmas: would I be getting a tree (yes), will Santa be coming to my place and their mother's and their grandparents (of course, he tracks your location better than the NSA), "will he bring me a BB gun" (no, emphatic no, although he'd brought me one when I was in 6th grade and so there might be some room for negotiation in two years), "will he bring me a new Barbie House because I know I have a big one already but I NEED one with an elevator" (that one drew a blank stare). New Normal, meet the Old Normal. You have a lot in common, it seems. Happily so.
But the Big Question, the existential Why of our Christmas, hung there for a bit. Nothing for it but to answer. "Well...", I began. And then came an explanation too lengthy to quote here. The Druids were involved. Trees in the living room and mistletoe hanging from a doorjam and yule logs in gas-fueled fireplaces and their pagan origins. There was a primer on Winter Solstice, and how it was celebrated. My explanation seemed to satisfy them, at least for now.
The talk turned to how exactly we'd be decorating my apartment. Some twinkly lights along the windowsill, a small tree in the corner. Lucas suggested stringing popcorn and cranberries - we'd never done this before, but why not, I said. Let's. I told the kids that our Christmas dinner would be something new as well; I'd get some good tamales and make a big pot of pozole. The first of a new kind of holiday for us. I thought of the Winter Solstice: in the face of days that had grown colder and nights that had grown longer, people huddled together and celebrated the fact that they were alive, and rejoiced in the knowledge that soon that a corner would be turned, and the sun would stick around a bit longer each day. There's always winter. And then there's always spring. The cycle repeats itself each year, as we grow older, as some of us drift apart, as some of us drift back together. There's a comfort in that. One worth celebrating.
This seems like a good place to end things here at DadCentric. The kids grow up, and so do the dads; the site's run its course, and if we've done anything to contribute to the growth of the Dad-Blog-O- Community-Sphere, well, that's a good thing. This site has always been the sum of a bunch of incredibly gifted and generous parts. My heartfelt thanks go out to the many talented writers who contributed to DadCentric during its (does math) eight years of existence - you can find them all over the Internet, and who knows? Perhaps we'll get some of the band back together for other things, kind of like Axl Rose did for "Chinese Democracy", only hopefully with better results. And thank you, Dear Reader, for indulging us. It's been a pleasure. - Jason