It’s 2 in the morning on December 24 – Oh shit, it’s Christmas Eve!
In spite of feeling better about myself and my crazy little life I have been dreading Christmas. I have spent the past 5 Christmas seasons away from family but at least I was with the man I loved. Being with him eased the pain of being so far away from the crazy, potty mouthed, intense, passionate and loving people I am proud to call my family.
This year is different…..Although I am lucky to have the Blue Haired Boy with me I have been waging a war with my emotions.
I am trying very hard to find the “meaning” of Christmas this year – and I don’t mean the religious meaning! Years of Catholic school have firmly rooted that into my brain. For my family, Christmas began the day after Thanksgiving when my father would drag out the numerous boxes of decorations, all properly labeled (dining room mantle, living room shadowbox, living room window left, living room window right, etc) along with photos of how it looked the previous Christmas. He would then spend DAYS carefully and methodically placing garland, lights, figurines and a plethora of ornaments all through the inside and outside of the house.
|Those "bricks" on the wall were pieces of cardboard my father had us color...|
In my younger years I don’t think I fully appreciated the time and effort he put into it. When I was older I once asked him why he did all of this. My siblings and I were all grown and out of the house and it drove my mother crazy to have to trip over boxes until the last decoration was hung. Why go through so much trouble? Why not get a small tree and just relax? His answer: “First of all, I love Christmas and the decorating is not a chore. Second, and most important, I love the joy it puts on my family’s faces. It’s that simple.”That was my father’s philosophy on most things….bringing joy to those he loved. He even would try to bring joy to those he didn’t know. I can recall many holidays when one sibling or another would bring a guest. Sometimes these guests were a boyfriend or girlfriend that had not yet been introduced to our family and sometimes it was just a friend who had nowhere to go. My father always greeted these people with the same warmth and gusto and he did his family. He offered plenty of food, wine and conversation to make them feel as though they were part of the family. Most of these guests would start out a bit overwhelmed. My large family does everything with great intensity!
We are loud, opinionated and a bit foul mouthed. We laugh, we argue, we stop speaking to one another and then we make up – all in the course of one dinner. To an outsider it can be a bit strange but when they see the genuine joy, they start to feel right at home.
|Just another day.....|
This year, my intent is to bring joy to the Blue Haired Boy and to myself. Even though we have decided not to celebrate Christmas in the traditional sense (there is no tree, no lights, no decorations, no gifts) we will still make it special. We renamed Christmas “just another day”. I will make ribs, potato salad with bacon, and cold green beans with shallot vinaigrette. We will pack a cooler with the food, a couple of beers and a bottle of wine and then spend the day at the beach. We will soak up some badly needed sun, drink a toast to “just another day” and then eat until we can’t move.
This will bring us both true joy and that will be what “just another day” means to us.