image from here.
For the last couple of weeks, I have been carrying myself tentatively, like an overfull jar of milk. See, I have spent every Christmas of my life with my parents. Every Christmas...but this one.
In November, TEG and I took a long, somber look at our finances and a long, considered look at our Madam, and thought about our own long, slow slide into exhaustion and shook our heads. In a decision that would have been inconceivable a few months ago, TEG and I decided to forgo our yearly trek into the Christmas Bermuda Triangle of travel.
For a while, all I felt was relief. We would be saving so much money! It would be relaxed, lowkey! I clung fiercely to these considerations, resolutely ignoring the occasional twinge caused by certain Christmas carols, or the hollowness I felt whenever I thought about my ability (or lack thereof) to give Madam a nice holiday.
So, I threw myself into preparations, assuming a virtue I didn't feel at first. Madam and I sung Christmas carols, drew snowpeople, read stories. I put up a Christmas tree, a small satellite of my parents' larger tree in Miami (I even bought some of the same ornaments). I bought (and wore) Santa hats.
I watched Madam as she started to absorb ideas about Santa and reindeer and bells that jingle-her eyes grew wise as she triumphantly made the connections. And something started to soften—I allowed myself to remember all of the Christmas traditions I had loved as a child: the tables groaning with pernil and arroz con pasas, the family myths that took me where I had never been, strolling the streets of Cartagena at midnight on Christmas Eve, the moonlight shivering silver and strange on the familiar cobblestones. The tree drooping with tinsel and ornaments, lush and abundant even in the years when our lives were lean. And I felt gratitude for that foundation, and for the opportunity to forge a new one for Madam.
It turned out to be a wonderful Christmas. I disappointed my parents, and I missed them, but no one died from it. We watched the snow fall thickly past our windows, white like benediction. Madam played with her toys and shook the tree bells like a kitten. TEG and I laughed, and snuggled when she was finally down for the night, lit only by the glow of twinkling lights.
Who knows what she will remember? But I hope I gave her something to look back on.
I hope I can carry some of this into the new year—this trust in my intuition, this ability to move forward even when the feelings and inspiration is not quite there.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of my wonderful, inspiring bloggy friends. Here is hoping that we all continue to learn from each other, and grow ceaselessly into our hearts' desires.
Labels: family tales