I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday, and that you felt heard, loved, honored, cherished, grateful, and generous.
We had a nice day, which really started much before. Both daughters came home, one with a flat tire on the way which was unceremoniously and quickly addressed, and the other with a 48 hour travel odyssey that started with colossal lines in the Sacramento airport; the whole airport internet was down and they had to do everything literally by hand, writing out boarding passes, luggage routing, and passenger lists. That delay then stranded her in Baltimore, where fortunately she had friends to stay with and enjoyed their holiday festivities, before heading home to Connecticut.
Meanwhile, my husband was hustling to install the toilet that had been sitting in a box in our foyer for too long, and don’t you know we now even have a gift offering of the old one gracing our yard for Christmas? I brought in a bunch of food and have an ambitious meal plan for the week, while professionally having the busiest moments of my year, helping others navigate health, moral, and relationship crises. There already have been some profound, instantaneous healings in the midst of all this, for which I am very grateful.
It was good to get the four of us together. We finally got the lights on the tree on Christmas eve, skipping the ornaments this year. We went to my husband’s sister’s family for Christmas eve dinner and carol singing, and it was especially great to see our niece who lives in London; we hadn’t seen her in far too long.
Christmas day was traditional for us except it is the first year our son was not here (he’s in Australia). For the sake of tradition our (twenty something) daughters still insisted on bringing down their stuffed “friends” (our youngest) and American Girl doll (our oldest). Having never done Santa, we’ve always “just done stockings” for our kids, which is a joke, because they overflow, with things like great oven mits, cobbler’s hammers (to make your own shoes of course), secondhand cashmere sweaters, or chocolate jackknives. I made calendars for everyone with some of my photos from our trip to northeastern Canada. Tomorrow I’ll post some of our books and hand made gifts. Our older daughter gave me a handbag that was so over the top I’m having her return it.
My mother was a big gift giver and started this culture we are still navigating. We still exchange presents with all of our siblings, which I feel has kept us better in touch through the years. I love the thoughtfulness of it all, but not the expense and waste and consumption. Frankly, I am at a place where I am willing to reconsider how we do this holiday, especially in our own home, but I’m bound to be over ruled by those I brought up.
It is also more exhausting than it needs to be, and maybe given that I’m working so much at this time of year, I need to focus less on giving my kids a nice (but very needed!) break, and being sure to delegate enough to them (meal prep?) to get a bit of a break myself. I’m sure I’m not the only mother trying to noodle through this conundrum. We remind ourselves how fortunate we are to have family, and figure we’ll feel rested in some other season.
For our Christmas dinner we had some favorites we do not often indulge in, Swordfish with Herbed Lemon Pepper Butter, Twice Baked Potatoes, Baked Onions, and Watercress, Pear, Walnut Salad. I have to say, it sure tasted good. Afterwards we made silly (note the Christmas dinosaurs) sugar cut out cookies (my mom’s recipe here) and took them to church, where we had a sweet time with our church family.
Somehow, for me, Boxing Day today feels like a relief. I remember my mom feeling sad the day after Christmas, because “it was over.” This is not how I’m feeling at all right now. I’m craving settling into some mellow family time that is not about stuff or expectations. Our daughters are here into next week, and for me, that is enough for pure joy.