The day is gone, the wrappings hiding anticipated surprises, then warmed our toes as it burned brilliant flashy colors in the wood stove. The big ass ham has been eaten and re-wrapped for a week of leftovers as have the host of sides and dessert. I can see the floor again, I love my floor, it grounds me......
This morning is the day I love, the day after! Still, all the mixed feelings of this holiday season swirl through the early morning house. Can't say it was a grand and wonderful Christmas but it was a nice day. We sort of went through the movements of what is expected on the grand day. Ok, I hate it and don't do well with this holiday...... or any holiday in reality. This house used to be filled with people; laughing, children twirling, setting small fires with candles while coating fingers and clothing in wax, coloring on walls, fighting and just plain bursting with people. I can't say I loved that chaos either. Today it is filled with three and a cat, I think we were spinning but certainly not twirling. A CAT, who would have ever thought there would be CAT in our home? Neil is a survivor and plucky so I guess it's why he fits just fine. It's not that any of these Christmas's are good or bad or anything; it just changes and no matter if the house is bursting or just three fill our decorated rooms. The decorated rooms now seem large. How did we ever fit 12 to 14 people around this house? It's the same amount of holiday stuff, amazingly the stuff remains the same. Over the years we hashed out the holiday; I cook, bake and clean, Butch decorates and goes to work. It works.
This year is was just different. Maybe is was the lack of days from Thanksgiving to Christmas, maybe it was the year of challenging shows and lackluster sales culminating in a full week of driving and parceling out work to galleries, maybe it was the idiot in the black beamer, maybe it was Ruth (my mother in law) admitted to a nursing home last Friday, maybe it was having my better half usually known as Mr Christmas, trying to sort through mounds of her paper work, missing paper work, meeting with nurses, nursing home staff, doctors, cleaning her house for his sisters arrival, washing loads of her laundry, offers to help being turned away, watching a guy who sacrificed his year of badly needed vacation to take care of his Mom. For the first time I watched him bend under the weight and the rest of us trying to bolster him but knowing it wasn't helping. We carried on because it seemed the right thing to do and we suck at this. In the back of our minds the oil bubbled to the surface as we remembered the Christmas morning he ran out of the house as his Dad severed the gold thread that tethers the spirit to physical boundaries, it was a hard Christmas.
Christmas morning as I rambled down the stairs I found him standing in the old dining room, hurriedly hanging ornaments and apologizing for not getting the tree decorated or the last box of decorations up. No worries, we will drink coffee and get the ornaments on the tree before Abby is out of bed! Merry Christmas honey, we are here, warm and glad to have each other today. We really don't need a tree! Well I don't need a tree but he really needs this tree...... I get it, I really do.
Mortality hits you in the face, especially at the holidays when you look around the room and realize how many are gone........ whether passed on or just scattered to the four winds.
But this morning the house is quiet, the snows gently floats on bitterly cold air, the coffee is hot, and we are back in the snow globe bubble of a quiet winter. Mr. Christmas is still off his game but seems happy to be off to work this morning. He put the trash tote on the curb although the trash pick up isn't until Monday. I'll bring it back when I let the chickens out......
Yes, the ornaments got on the tree, the nisua was toasted, more coffee was made, the presents were opened and the dinner was good! It was a nice day. By 4:00 p.m. Abby and Mr Christmas ran up to the nursing home for a visit, I stayed back to clean up the kitchen and get the dessert course ready on their return. They returned, cheese cake consumed, Abby and Neil packed and headed back to Kent with a car load of food and Christmas bounty. We settled in to watch a movie on a quiet Christmas night.
It hit me, it's over. Tomorrow life will resume, normally....... phew!
Abby got just what she wanted, a GPS! Otherwise known as MAP!
She got a bird feeder too with a 50# bag of bird food! She actually asked for a bird feeder, I almost cried at this request :)
Dinner was perfect; Abby rocked the stuffed portobello mushrooms this year. Feta and green bean salad, sweet potatoes made with the canned rum pineapple sitting on the basement shelf, ham and homemade rolls. Best part of this table; taking 20 minutes to walk around the yard and prune greenery and holly bushes.
We had a nice time and stayed busy texting Rachael with updates.
No cookies this year, cheesecake!
And I got a new Food Saver as mine died the week before Christmas!
What amazes me every Christmas..... we seem to have an inner compass for what we need. One year, without knowing we got each other cross country skies. We laughed pretty hard in our amazement. It's gone like this over the years. This year our inner compass seemed to realize we needed time together. He has been absent so much of this fall and winter season, we missed him this year, I missed him this year. Along with the obligatory package to open Christmas morning, each of us had stuffed our stockings with gift certificates to local eateries and a micro brewery. A night to steal away, grab a meal and let the world fall away.
Sincerest Holiday wishes to all who wander to Paine Falls........ :)