In the midst of all the hustle and bustle that is the holiday season, I sometimes feel an overwhelming wave of nostalgia engulf me. To an extent, I imagine we all feel this way during this time of year.
December sings a song of good tidings and dances along to her twinkling lights and Yuletide greetings that bring peace and contentment into the world. But beneath the surface, she leaves her trace of nostalgia. And as I unpacked my Christmas boxes with my mother today, I couldn’t fight the feeling of longing for the things that used to be.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m a huge fan of Christmas. Some may even argue that I’m too obsessed with this time of year, but with Bing Crosby belting out the Christmas classics in my ears, I have a hard time listening to the haters. Give me a peppermint mocha, some tunes, and a fresh blanket of snow, and you’ll find me getting giddy in the Christmas aisles of Target, caroling way out of tune, and being completely ignorant to the fact that snow and wheelchairs aren’t the best mix. I just want a white Christmas, OK?
Yet, through the merriment that is the holiday season, that flood of nostalgia always envelopes me as we haul out boxes upon boxes of Christmas decor. In these boxes, carefully wrapped are memories of my childhood. As a young girl, I had much more physical strength than I do today. Hung on one of our Christmas trees (my family has three!) are ornaments that I painted or constructed myself. On a bureau in my bedroom is a Nativity scene that I painted on my own in middle school.
Green split peas glued onto paper in the shape of trees remind me of craft wars my brother and I used to have as kids. (Mine were always better.) Each year, these memories flood back to me. And while this is something I try not to dwell on, as it can really mess with my emotional well-being, I can’t help but itch for those days again.
This reality of living with SMA, the reality that this disease is degenerative, has always been the hardest for me to grasp. At the same time, I look back at these memories in the shapes of handmade ornaments, paper trees, and painted, wooden reindeers, and I feel grateful. Even if it was short-lived, I have these tangible experiences to showcase how well-spent my holidays were.
My mother, who has always had a knack for crafts, filled this time of year with the utmost Christmas spirit through art and helped in developing my creative side, which I still exercise today through digital art.
There’s a ceramic Santa ornament I painted at age 11, and every year I admire all of its intricacies. Every little detail is painted on so perfectly that you’d never guess me and my shaky, SMA hands could have ever painted it. As I look at it, I reflect on what is now a distant memory, but something I will cherish for eternity. SMA may have robbed me of some of my abilities over the years, but it can never take away the love that was cultivated in spite of it.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.