Now, where did I leave that?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Maybe Not So Much This Year


Sorry for being so quiet and not making the blog rounds for awhile. Work was very busy last week, pretty much non-stop, and I've been sick, trying to avoid a doctor visit common sense tells me I should do. The latter has put me farther behind, leaving me to pull off (minor) cleaning today & hoping that I can bake some cookies (Molasses-Ginger-Cranberry, although as I write these words I realize I never bought the crystallized ginger! Argggh...so add another grocery store trip to the to-do list before sons and my sister arrive).

I haven't been my elf self this year. There's some real sadness for our family this year, and I'm wanting to get past the day with all its memories and meanings. So we're changing things up. My sons and sister will still be with us tonight for pizza and presents, laughter and the Grinch. The 'boys' will stay overnight this year; for the first time in years, they'll be with me on Christmas Day (which TWC promises will be snow-dusted!). There will be cinnamon rolls and coffee, and general hanging out. Last I heard they'll prep dinner here and then we'll all trek about 25 miles south, dine at my older son's place, joined by their dad. Finally, the lot of us will go see The Hobbit. Linda has saint-like moments, and tomorrow is one of them. I'm eternally grateful for her understanding and compassion. 

And she and I have some plans for after Christmas, from a possible semi-north country trek to buy miniature honey jars, to finally visiting the new Trader Joe's in Albany, to a decadent New Year's Eve dinner. I plan rest and reading, starting some more felted dryer balls and maybe Linda & I can finally tarp the chicken coop. I'm off work until January 2nd, and plan to savor the days! And I'll offer a prayer that next year's holiday will be a happier one, and that my comatose inner elf will re-emerge, trailing glitter and lights in her wake. In the meantime, I offer a re-run (gasp!) of the first Christmas Eve post I wrote for this blog, back in 2009, as well as wishes to each of you that the holiday bless you with love, laughter, child-like wonder, and gifts far greater than what the eye can behold. Peace!

CHRISTMAS EVE, 2009

I remember Christmas Eve from childhood...perhaps I've romanticized it, tossed out those memories that don't fit in my mental photo album; after all, mine was not a childhood to write home (or a blog) about.  Be that as it may, I remember Christmas Eve as a day of anticipation and pleasure, and can flick through the images like a slideshow: the tree lit with those big, bright C7 bulbs that still make me smile when I see them; the small cones of balsam incense that filled the air with the scent of piney woods; my father's many cryptic comments and teasings about Santa; dressing up and heading out in bitter cold at 11:00 at night to sing at midnight Mass; the heat and incense in the church, everyone scrubbed, shiny inside and out, singing our hearts out in the choir (fortunately there were enough voices to hide my own terrible one), the glory-ous ritual of midnight Mass; coming home and heading straight to bed, tired but too excited to fall right to sleep; that wee-hours-of-the-morning waking up and stretching out a foot to feel if the Christmas stocking laid out on the bed had any weight, then the racing of anticipation as I felt its stuffed roundness in the dark; waking up my sister so we could turn on the light and explore our treasures (we seemed to call a truce every Christmas Eve and I look back at my memory of those nights and wish we could have held onto those giggles and intimacy the rest of the year....and years to come); falling back asleep even while convinced it wasn't possible; and on Christmas morning proper the bated-breath excitement as dad went downstairs to check to be sure Santa had in fact arrived...the teasing that oops, maybe he had skipped us, then the gleeful go-ahead to send us tumbling down the stairs and into the living room.

As an adult it seems like that anticipation was the high point, that all-is-right-with-the-world-and-anything-is-possible magic at the cusp of Christmas.  Maybe it wasn't like that at all, maybe the mind and age have air-brushed the memories, done a little digital magic, inserting and removing images that don't accurately portray what I want to remember.  But since it does no harm and feels good, why not?

That anticipation still survives...there's still magic, still anticipation, even if it's tempered now, more subdued.  I still can't wait to watch the Grinch find the strength of "ten Grinches...plus two", watch my sons taunt me as they see how long they can take to open their presents, listen to my sister's laugh, catch my beloved's eye from across the room, breathe in the lights and balsam, feel the peace and contentment.  And maybe that's the best gift of all...I may not feel that can't-sit-still-wake-up-in-the-wee-hours giddiness anymore, but the multi-colored peace and satin ornament contentment are soul-felt gifts.

15 comments:

Robin Larkspur said...

I have lost my elf self this year, too Ashling. The first Christmas without my mom, and it hurts a lot. So really no decorating, except for a tiny tree. I am baking today and hoping for some smiles and fun.
Blessings of the Season to you and Linda; enjoy the family celebrations and be safe in your travels. Take care, my friend. Hugs, Robin.

Dawn Z said...

The cuppa Joe and I are enjoying this quiet xmas eve on the brink of many changes. So bittersweet this time of year is. Sending you and yours all the best this Yule.

Ashling said...

@Robin....some years the elf just needs to rest and heal. May you and your family find some laughter to light the dark corners this season.

@Dawn...thank you!

A Quiet Corner said...

Ashling, although my childhood was "different" please know that we are blessed! We are now US and that's great! Be safe, healthy & happy, Merry Christmas!!...:)JP

Teresa Evangeline said...

Merry Christmas. and a wonder-filled New Year!

Jen said...

I'm sorry you've been going through sickness and sadness. It's great that you are being flexible, not feeling that you have to follow traditions or do things in a certain way. I think your plans sound perfect, and I hope you enjoy everything and everyone (and make sure you save some time for yourself). Is your son a chef?

Hoping you enjoy peace and love this holiday season.

xo,

Jen

AkasaWolfSong said...

Dear Ashling...
My heart is with you and yours this holiday season...I'm sorry to hear you are not feeling well. Do take care, please?
It sounds as if you have learned to gently flow with your traditions and memories of more magickal times are certain to carry you through. It is good you've got loved ones by your side to help you celebrate this time of Peace, Goodwill and Love. Your time together sounds absolutely perfect! :)
Here's a (((Big Hug))) for you and wishes for a speedy return to good health, now and always.
Much Love and Peace,
Akasa

turquoisemoon said...

Merry Christmas!!! ...and get well!!!
XOXOX

the wild magnolia said...

Feel better energy and thoughts are on the way.

For the Christmas day I wish you all peace and comfort and that it all goes very well.

May you find yourself this year. I know just how you feel.

Merry Christmas to you and Linda.

Nancy J said...

Ashling, to you and Linda, all warmest wishes for happiness together, weather that is kind, travel that is safe, family time with some fun thrown in, rest up, relax, and get better very soon. Merry Christmas to you both, fond greetings from Jean

Michaele said...

Have a good time with ALL your family. You are blessed.

BBC said...

I haven't done christmas for years, I don't think much of fiction.

Doc Teri said...

I would just like to say thank you. You were, without even knowing it, one of my main inspirations yesterday when I felt the need to reinvent (I had intended to leave a comment to that effect today)...To awaken this morning to see that you stopped by was a touching surprise...it meant a lot. I wish you peace and hope that my crazy cast of characters doesn't infiltrate your site:-)

Ashling said...

Thanks all for your good wishes; I hope yours was a warm and loving holiday. @Doc Teri, thanks so much for your comment and dropping by!

Our Neck of the Woods said...

I hope you had a good Christmas and get well soon! Your molasses-ginger-cranberry cookies sound yummy!