Not a latent echo in the house, not a squeak and scuffle from the mice behind the panelling, not a drip from the half-thawed water-spout in the dull yard behind, not a sigh among the leafless boughs of one despondent poplar, not the idle swinging of an empty store-house door, no, not a clicking in the fire, but fell upon the heart of Scrooge with softening influence, and gave a freer passage to his tears.
This little softening occurs early in Stave Two when the Ghost of Christmas Past and Scrooge observe Scrooge's younger self, sitting alone in a schoolhouse on Christmas day. The implication of this passage is that Scrooge had a pretty miserable childhood, and the memory of it begins the slow disassembly of Scrooge's defenses. Scrooge is reduced to a young, abandoned child again. It's a pretty heart-breaking moment, and, for the first time, the reader feels compassion and sorrow for Scrooge.
Last night, when my son was going to bed, he asked me to read him Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw. It's a book about a mother and her son, the unending love of a parent for her child. I didn't get past the second page before I was ready to cry. I found myself skipping huge portions of the book just so I wasn't a weeping mess by the end. Robert Munsch definitely had a softening influence on me. I felt a little ridiculous.
Anything about kids growing older sort of puts me over the edge right now. I'm sitting across from my eleven-year-old daughter right now, and I'm looking at her closely. She looks like a teenager. She's going to be in sixth grade in September. In six more years, she'll be a senior in high school. As my daughter might say, "OMG!" It depresses me a little. Actually, more than a little.
It seems like yesterday when I was sitting beside her toddler bed, reading Charlotte's Web to her. Now, she has me locked out of her iPod, and she's self-conscious about her clothes. She wants to get her hair streaked pink, and she stays up late watching vampire movies.
I'm standing with the Ghost of Christmas Past, watching my daughter open her Barbie Dream Castle. She's tiny, beautiful, excited. She throws her arms around my neck and kisses me.
Saint Marty's little girl isn't so little anymore.
Confessions of Saint Marty