It’s Christmas afternoon and there’s a lull in the action. We had a Christmas breakfast here in the fancy eating-room. My child toddled off to a nap and HMO’Keefe did the dishes and I think he’s now snoozing. I’m reminiscing and finishing off the mimosas. Besides the fact that it does involve champagne, the lovely libation is in a hollow flute and I love watching the column of bubbles. There’s no way I could just abandon it.
The weeks leading up to this holiday have been busy, yea, verily, frantic! And there’s been some drama. And I’ve been so very worn out and emotionally at the end of my tether. After leaving the office on Wednesday afternoon for a badly needed vacation, I’ve been a whirlwind. Nothing had even begun to be readied for the holiday and overwhelmed was the word of the week. The month. The year.
This is a stay at home vacation. I love having time off this time of year to hang around the house. I clean a little. I organize a little. I sleep. I write. I re-charge and gird my loins for the mayhem of January and February and March.
But before I could wallow in time off, Christmas had to readied. Against all odds, and with a fare amount of shouting, it came together. The house is not at its festive best by a long shot, but it’s so much better than it has been.
There was a whirlwind of shopping – most of it online. I generally refuse to order from any online establishment that will not provide free shipping, but when one waits until Christmas week to even begin, well, one, must make peace with shipping charges. Everything arrived.
A friend of mine has a long-standing tradition with her sister. For the holidays, they go on a shopping expedition together each spending on herself what she had intended to spend on the other. At the end of the outing, there’s a ritual exchange of “Here! Look what you got me!” When I was younger I would have hated this. But I’m an old woman, now. I have what I want, seldom really want anything, and for Christmas I’d really just like to spend a little more time with my mother.
My mother and I thought this sounded like a fine, fine tradition. We decided such an outing required the exotic locale of Columbus, Ohio. So, off we went. My mother “gave to me” some wonderful sweaters. And I gave to her some equally wonderful duds. It was a wonderful time and the First Mother-Daughter Christmas Shopping Expedition is now an annual event.
I spent the next day wrapping and finishing the trees. And cleaning. In the course of such, I found an old Christmas card from my son. This card had accompanied my gift of bath salts lovingly nestled in a baby-food jar and adorned with a fabric topper. The card is a dandy.
Mom I Love you
The soap Please Don’t
wash you self with
it put it on top of the
Well. You can’t argue with that. For years, it was on the toilet, but now it is on the beloved dressing table.
He was such a cute kid. He still is. He got into town about 9 p.m. Christmas Eve. We unwrapped gifts with the folks and came back here where he, I and HMO’Keefe killed two bottles of wine and talked food until 2 a.m.
Considering we were up until the wee hours, we woke fairly early and the three of us opened gifts. It was nice. HMO’Keefe prefers Christmas morning to Christmas Eve and joining lives is all about meshing traditions. After the spectacle of rampant materialism, I prepared French toast with didn’t turn out well, but if you serve anything with champagne, it becomes memorable.
We’re all pretty tired. I should be napping, but the sun is pouring through the atrium doors and there’s still champagne. I don’t spend much time in this room and I don’t know why. The light, particularly at this time of year and this time of day, is a balm to the spirit.
I’ve caught up with myself.
I was gifted with some very special presents which will merit another post another day, but I also received, because I asked for it, an all-in-one art box. For years, I’ve said I didn’t get the artistic gene that runs rampant through the rest of the family. I’ve also never been particularly interested in painting. I’ve quipped that if I had grandchildren (inserting an evil glare at Chef Boy ‘R Mine at the time), I could be the next Grandma Moses. I have no illusions that I’ll be any good. I don’t even care that it will be dreck. I’m looking forward to tossing paint around.
As for my son, the gift I gave to him that makes me smile the most is the pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sleep pants. In size Men’s Extra-Large. He’s wearing them. They’re, um, colorful. The little boy that gave me bath salts was a Ninja Turtle groupie. It was all Turtles, all-the-time, for a number of years. I chortled at the Wal-Mart when I saw them. He grinned when he opened them. Sometimes the best presents are the least expected ones which brings me to the gift from my father – a year’s worth of journal entries about his life. I haven’t looked close at it. Not yet. I want uninterrupted time to sink into it, but I’m tearing up at the thought of him giving me that window to his heart.
Christmas dinner, which my Dad is preparing, is in a few hours. I should be straightening the house and dressing, but the sun is still streaming into this room and there’s still champagne. Dad’s not going to throw me out if I show up in dirty jeans and a sweatshirt. Such is the acceptance of a loving family.