The movie A Child’s Christmas in Wales takes on a whole new meaning for me now that I am a grandmother. We first watched it with our Margaret and Michael when they were very young. I identified with the mother, and now suddenly I see the grandfather, played wonderfully by Denholm Elliot, as my contemporary. When did I change from a mother in her thirties/forties to a grandmother in her sixties? It doesn’t seem real in a way because I see this movie every single year, and it doesn’t change at all.
I took special notice of a particular part of the movie. Geraint has been telling his grandson about Christmas when he was a boy. His daughter, the boy’s mother says, “thanks, dad, for keeping an eye on him," and he responds, “it’s no trouble, it’s a pleasure. He sits there good as gold while I ramble on. He seems interested, too.”
This may be the last great gift of a lifetime - the grandchild (or great grandchild) who hangs on your every word. The way Campbell Walker and Hazel Nina look at me sometimes, I begin to feel like the genius of the world when I’m just telling them about say, the KitchenAid mixer, or remote controls, or Jack Johnson.
The first year I began writing the blog I posted this as a quote du jour:
Monday, December 25, 2006
Looking through my bedroom window, out into
the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow,
I could see the lights in the windows
of all the other houses on our hill and hear
the music rising from them up the long, steadily
falling night. I turned the gas down, I got
into bed. I said some words to the close and
holy darkness, and then I slept.
After the grandfather says these words to the boy, he looks down and his grandson is asleep. And then the most tender look comes upon his face as he kisses the boy goodnight, and the boy gently touches his face. I’ve always loved this scene, but now. Oh, I know the feeling behind that look. The love, the amazing, amazing love for a grandchild is in his eyes. I know now. I thank God I lived to experience this.
The story is one of continuity. The grandfather is living with his daughter, her husband, and their son in the very house he grew up in. He gives the boy a snow globe he was given when young. The boy sleeps in the same room his grandfather slept in. Since my children’s children have been born, they speak often of their childhoods. They want Hazel Nina and Campbell Walker to experience what they did. Margaret in fact showed Hazel A Child’s Christmas in Wales as her first movie. At one point the boy says your Christmas as a boy is just like my Christmas, and we see that yes, in many ways it is.
I’ve actually bought a second copy of the movie just in case something happens to mine. If you don’t own it, you may see it on YouTube here.
To me it is the essence of Christmas and family and indeed, life itself.