Somehow, someway, our children have managed to imbue us with the jolly Christmas spirit, and I’m personally feeling merrier than I have in a long while. As I’ve written in years past, Christmas/Hanukkah/whatever-you-celebrate-in-December, is marketed as joyous, but the twinkling lights can be hard to bear when you’re grieving, or lonely, or just plain grumpy. For me, the past nine years were somewhat dulled, stolen of the season’s sparkle, as the calendar turned to December, and I faced down my brother Howard’s looming absence.
But now I have a full on, walking, talking, singing, counting, tantrum throwing, cuddling, kissing, apologizing, hugging, dancing, cookie decorating toddler.
And she’s obsessed with Santa and his reindeer. And suddenly Honeydew and I have not only cut down and decorated an enormous Charlie Brown tree for our house, we’ve strewn the porch in twinkling lights and added two smaller trees, garland tagged with Christmas cards, AND a wreath to frame the door. In the bathroom, a snowman my aunt Sissy made years ago smiles next to the soap. In Maggie’s room, the tiny tree that stood watch during the Advents of my youth glows on the nightstand. In the kitchen, some of my mother’s Christmas Spode graces the table, and tinsel adorns a few random elk sheds.
Maggie whirls about the house in the kaleidoscope glow of the tree. Howard alternates between beaming and gaping at it all, and tries to eat the sparkling lights. And the dog’s fur. And does eat lots of guacamole. But I digress.
I know these magical, child fueled Christmases are very few, and it won’t be long before I look back on what sometimes seems to be an endless cycle of waking long before dawn to pour beeswax candles and ornaments under the cover of starlight, and running back and forth from the shop to the house to make hot chocolates, change diapers, kiss boo-boos, and running back out again to attempt to bottle honey with my youngest in the Baby Bjorn — I don’t recommend this procedure, for the record — and the constant labeling and boxing and shipping and printing and interruptions — baby is hungry, toddler needs a book, baby needs a nap, toddler needs a kiss, baby needs to be held, oh wait it’s dinnertime! But there’s still 500 pounds of honey to go! We’ll come back after bedtime and finish, okay? Sigh. Okay.
Yes, all is merry and bright around here. And I am grateful for this season of my life, as exhausting as it is.
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