At that point in her life, at the tender young age of ten, Jenny was trying hard to stand up to the rumors that Santa was not real. Of all three of us girls, she proved to be the boldest and bravest—she had the guts to come right out and ask my mother, point-blank. My mother’s response was always the same for all of us; if you don’t believe in Santa, he won’t bring you any presents. Still, Jenny had her suspicions. She could sense it. We could all sense it: 1995 would make it or break it for her. It could mean the end of an era. Jenny wanted two things: to walk on the moon right here on earth and to continue to believe in Santa. Those were the two things that childhood, for her, required. And in many ways, we wanted what Jenny wanted too.
That is what I feel to be the theme of Christmas in my family—both remote past Christmases as well as more recent ones. In all its unruly slight dysfunction, there is a brilliant glory in holidays spent with my family. It’s messy and often uncomfortable (with four women in the family my father says someone’s always bound to be upset about something). But it’s in the imperfections where our best memories can be found.
Shame we couldn’t have gotten all that on camera.