There's plenty I remember about 2008, the last year I lived in the home of my childhood.
I remember high school. I remember going into my senior year hoping that my crush would like me, that I’d make new friends, that I’d be accepted into the college I wanted.
I remember my parents losing their jobs. I remember the whispered conversations they had behind closed doors.
I remember being a bad driver. I remember that I backed my mom’s car into a parked truck. I tried to hide it, but there was a dent on the rear bumper the size of a beach ball. I remember my mom’s face when she found out, knowing they didn’t have the money to fix it.
I remember getting a job at Subway. I remember the relief I felt when I no longer needed to ask my parents for money before going out with friends.
I remember the stock market crash. I remember the faces and the graphs on the shows that always gave bad news and I had no idea what any of it meant.
I remember my parents telling me we would soon lose the house. It was the house I had lived my entire life in. I remember feeling angry that we were being forced out because I wanted to leave on my own terms, after I graduated.
I remember the presidential election, a sense of hope things would change soon, a feeling that this economic downturn would pass.
I remember my mom coming up with a plan for us to give gift cards she’d found to those in need. I remember how she told my older sister and me that in order to receive, we needed to learn how to give. I remember thinking it was dumb — we needed charity.
I remember the sinking feeling that everything was going to change without knowing if it would be for the better.
But I don’t remember Christmas.
I have an idea of what probably happened. I assume that, one last time, I rushed down the stairs of the home I grew up in and ripped open my presents. I assume that I spent the day watching NBA basketball, and that my mom made a ham for dinner.
I assume it was a normal, good Christmas. It had to be, because I don’t have any memory of it.
Today, the world is entering the strangest holiday season of my lifetime. Family gatherings are discouraged. People are losing their jobs. Relatives are dying.
And I find myself hoping for something most unlikely. I hope that a decade from now, when I look back at 2020, I won’t remember this Christmas at all. ♦