Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Schriten!

Family legend tells us that my granddaddy, when he was very little and still learning to talk, came out on Christmas morning exclaiming, "It's Schriten! It's Schriten!" His new word for Christmas stuck, and in our family, Schriten lives—it really isn't Christmas for us until someone declares that it is Schriten.

That's the thing about family folklore: you never know when the stories that stick will be written. You can't manufacture them, they just arrive, and then live with you and your loved ones, weaving their way through generations, bringing a potentially different meaning every time they are unearthed. Schriten used to be a funny thing Granddaddy said to us as kids, but now that he has passed away, it has morphed into a sweet reminder of him, his humor, and his smile. My mom, who shares his smile, passed Schriten on to us alongside her father, and we, in turn, are pushing it forward alongside Mom to his great-grandchildren. When I hear EJ say it to us, I feel him right there in the room. I don't think anyone guessed at the time that a small boy's mispronunciation would mean so much in the next century.

Poignant or silly, simple or convoluted—the legendary moments that make up the stories we hold most dear just show up when we are in the moment, being present, taking it all in. May we all have a holiday season filled with the joy of presence.

Merry Schriten, everyone, from me and Grandddady.

EJ and Granddady at my grandparents' home in Denver, Colorado, fall 2005.