Christmas: the residue

It looked beautiful until 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

It looked beautiful until 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve.


I used to go all Norwegian on Christmas Eve – open flames, hard liquor, unwrapping all the presents and midnight church attendance, when available. I could not care less about Christmas Day. In my family, that was recovery time: turkey sandwiches with dill havarti and coffee with whipping cream instead of half and half.

Motherhood has made me cautious, and even lazier – no candles, no vodka, no cooking. I asked my daughter what she wanted for Christmas Eve dinner. She said she wanted bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, which I joyfully provided. Later she said she was being sarcastic, which is very unattractive in someone that young. She ate all her sandwiches, though. She also opened all her presents, most of which were games – Apples to Apples, Balderdash, Clue, Yahtzee, Taboo. I like to find a theme and stick with it. Luckily, Rebecca and her daughters were on hand to provide opponents. After they left, we began to drowse over our backlog of unfinished Christmas presents, until the arrival of guests we had forgotten about inviting. (That is not unusual, and no reflection on their charm and wit.) We had not yet stripped down to t-shirts and underpants, so we were able to welcome them with a certain amount of poise. The gaming continued without me, but I refereed and churned out six pattern repeats of a hand towel for Rebecca’s mother.

We aren’t quite done with Christmas; I worked at the library yesterday and ate almost nothing but chocolate. I’d be sick if I had the energy. There are either fireworks or the beginning of a gun battle on the mainland, further proof that some families should restrict their interaction to Facebook. Our beautiful tree is gone, sent to E’s grandmother for safekeeping. The house is trashed although we only had six people over. Unfinished presents are now designated New Year’s gifts. There are rumblings about skating and a game night in January. My head hurts.

And yet I am so happy. My daughter had a lovely time. Rebecca and I are going to try to see the show, Vanishing Ice, at the museum in town. Thurid gave me one of the books I photographed for her. It’s so beautiful I had tears in my eyes when I opened the package. I did kundalini yoga this morning, which is like doing magic (I imagine). And I’ll confess that I am madly infatuated with someone I don’t know at all. No one will tell him, and that is, with no exaggeration, safer. But I haven’t felt this way for years, so I’m glad I have evidence that the ice in my tiny, black little heart has melted. And I will not do anything stupid.

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