Dan, after opening the Christmas gift of irish cream that *he* bought and we wrapped and gave to him. I know, not exactly the spirit of Christmas, but he’s a good sport.
Besides having to wean ourselves off the holiday sugar our bodies now think is normal, our Christmas break has been absolutely lovely in that uncomplicated way of, I don’t know, binge watching Beatles videos on Youtube, all of us discussing which Beatles are still alive, which aren’t; evaluating their earlier musical periods versus the later psychedelic stuff (Rose likes the early stuff, I like the later stuff, Col’s neutral, and Dan’s busy doing something productive); the kids leaning into the monument of me on the couch, laptop balanced on my knees, all of us singing, loudly:
He got joo joo eyeballs
He one holy rollers
He got hair down to his knee
Got to be a joker
He just do what he please
And me, thinking: I really like these people.
Also, we haven’t been much into leaving the house, which keeps the stakes comfortingly low. (My friend Gretchen confessed to changing out of pajamas in the evening only to put on a new pair of pajamas, which is exactly how it’s been around here, except lower standards of hygiene). Everything has been simplified: elastic waistbands, fleece, library books and leftovers. It has been cold and snowy, cinching us further together. When the sun crests its far southern entry point on the horizon and beams into our windows, we cheer. The chickens, though deeply offended by the snow, have been laying enough eggs for breakfast and eggnog, and it doesn’t get much better than that. The biggest stress of the past two weeks has been the post-bedtime Mitten Summit, in which Dan and I discuss how many mittens need to be lost before the kids start buying their own. (Conclusion: one more pair each).
Yes, we did get a roadkill deer for Christmas.
When we’re done watching Beatles videos, we talk about the Cold War, or the last grizzly bear seen (and killed) in Colorado, and then we all go our separate ways for awhile. Dan will go tidy up the snow or work on a new knife. I’ll read (just finished this novel, which I loved but thought was too unrealistically sad and then read an interview with the author and learned it was entirely autobiographical. Oy) The kids will play, play, play. Then, we’ll gather to read a little Grapes of Wrath, which isn’t exactly Harry Potteresque in terms of action, but the kids have been picking up a few new swear words plus the understanding that there was a time when kids were valued more for their usefulness than for simply being precious.
A side effect of all this home time is that the kids have become indispensable to each other. They go, together, from Legos to Pokemon to dolls and Dan and I shake our heads, uttering “they’ve been such good buddies lately,” and then look around quickly for wood to knock on. I just want to hold us here together a little longer. I’d glue us in place like a family in a diorama, just so we could stay awhile, savoring these times. I realize there’s no growth and change in that, but maybe I’d trade in all that overrated evolving for more days like these.
A poem on the start of the new year for you:
There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.
Happy New Year and All Good Wishes,