What? You don’t make efforts to match your coat to your stuffies? You don’t know what you’re missing.
Ah, here we are. Two little elves (you can tell by their hats) inhaling the scent of fresh pine, waiting for mama to put the lights on the tree. Not pictured: mama insisting/threatening that there will be no festivities without the aid of Christmas carols. Also not pictured: two cats going crazy, drinking all the fresh water from the tree basin. Good times ahead.
~ My Grandpa Johnny died last week; we read about it in the newspaper. (My mom wrote about it so well here.)
~ Emma was chosen 2nd grade Student of the Month; this month was in recognition of “compassion, modeled by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton”. We’re very proud of her, and of course love seeing how this kind of thing builds her confidence. On the other hand, there are a few other kids in the class that REALLY deserve it too, and I’m bewildered that they haven’t received in yet. I’m rooting for all the good kids of the Class of 2020.
~ She asked for Uggs for Christmas. It’s the first time she’s asked for clothing by name brand (and will be her first Uggs since the cute pink ones she had as a baby).
~ The rest of their Christmas List is here.
~ I had to write three suggestions (under $25) for my Secret Santa. I wrote “(1) Books – Mary Oliver and Billy Collins both have new collections (2) Stationery, paper, pens, etc. (3) Bourbon is always nice”. But that’s not really my Christmas list!! I’m just no good at Secret Santa’ing, and asking for things is the worst.
~ We saw Frozen. It was awesome.
~ I’m writing 31 letters in December, thank-you notes to women who inspire and make me happy.
~ The count-back: Disney World in 23 days. Christmas in 22. Christmas Eve in 21. I turn 39 in 17.
December is filling up nicely. I’m slightly bummed to be going an entire season without a grand Messiah-sing, but it’s allowing us to put some more social and varied festivities on the calendar. Also: I’m going to get those Christmas cards finished on time. I am!
The girls are excited and festive, and I’m actually thinking this might be the year we take them to meet the Real Santa at Macy’s (I know he’s the real one, because Miracle on 34th Street is one of my favorite movies ever). I don’t know…long lines surrounded by bratty children (other people’s children are so bratty, aren’t they?!) make me itchy/cranky/thirsty. But maybe!
All this is to say: two days into Advent, and we’re still easy-breezy-beautiful, festively cheerful elves…and we haven’t even watched Charlie Brown yet!
Hope you’re getting in the spirit….
. . .
* * *
I am so grateful for you. (Not just thankful; GRATEFUL feels so much bigger to me somehow.)
The myriad ways you encourage, support, lighten, brighten.
The beautiful things you bring into this world, so inspiring and true.
The love you give us. The love you let me share with you.
Big, big love (always).
I think you (you!) are wonderful, and I am GRATEFUL for you.
I am giving thanks for you today.
We don’t have a typical Thanksgiving tradition here. Sometimes we have visitors. Often we go to the parade to watch the giant balloons. Sometimes we travel. Occasionally we go out to eat. This year we’re cooking, but just for our petite family of four (and with no real timetable since Bear is working through the pre-Thanksgiving night into morning and might have to go back to the office at some point). The pie crusts will be homemade and the stuffing will be cooked inside the bird’s, uh…cavity (yuck! but also yum!). We’re hoping to catch an early-evening showing of Frozen. We’re hoping to take naps.
I sometimes wonder how my girls will look back on our Thanksgivings; will they wish we’d had a more regular tradition, or will they simply remember that being together, slowing down, celebrating another year of blessings and abundance, was more than enough.
It is more than enough, of course. Even for those of us who don’t catalogue it for 30 days a year on Facebook.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Here’s hoping your day is filled with love, music, dancing, belly laughs, relaxation, libation, storytelling, storymaking, and joy overflowing.
It’s been quite a week.
We’re making complicated, beautiful music; singing and counting and breathing until I’m exhausted. The Mister used the rest of his vacation days to tend to the Littles (drop-offs, pick-ups, parent/teacher meetings, meal-making, homework-helping, etc., etc.). Em had a stellar report card (97% average).
I’m so grateful for these days.
Then, a message. A call. A surprise (not the good kind).
My Uncle Jim passed away. Gone, gone. My emotions, already so close to the edge, are overflowing. I’m feeling quiet and reflective and sad. I’m feeling; just feeling. I’m sending love to my dear cousin Amy, and to the whole family. My family. I wish there was something to do.
What I can do is only this: make more music. write more words. give more hugs. be more present. live with joy. celebrate every day. count my blessings. love big always. smile whenever possible. be true. be brave.
It’s a lot.
…and it’s not much at all.
We had such a Good visit with/from my mama. Good food, good music, good company, beautiful NYC days, a tea party, and a visit to see the Robert Indiana (my favorite. aka: the guy who created the LOVE statue) exhibit at the Whitney Museum. The days, as usual, passed too quickly, but we were careful to savor the moments. We’ll be meeting up again at Disney World on December 26, which is – crazy enough – right around the corner.
I’m enjoying all of y’alls’ Facebook lists and grateful details. Here’s mine for now:
~ I’m (finally) finishing up quite a few things right now, and (finally) getting ready to launch and deliver some new ones.
~ I’m listening to new music, and we’re adhering to the “at least 20-minutes of dancing a day” family guideline. (The girls, by the way, are hooked on What the Fox Says…)
~ I’m trying to be a better friend.
~ I’m writing letters.
~ I’m making a trip to the post office for Johnny Cash stamps.
~ I’m getting my confidence back (helped by a few consecutively good hair days)
~ I’m working on my swagger.
~ I’m enjoying little things.
~ I’m noticing.
~ I’m looking forward with excitement.
~ I’m cursing my camera’s new habit of overexposure and slow/non-focus.
~ I’m taking pictures anyway (and enjoying them).
~ I’m moisturizing for the cold windy weather.
~ I’m wearing a nightly brace on my bone-spurred feet.
~ I’m thinking about Christmas. And birthdays.
~ I’m thinking about belonging. And sincerity.
~ And balance.
~ And not taking it all too seriously.
~ And making better choices.
~ And eating more beets.
~ I’m loving, and letting myself draw love out of others, like a giant magnet.
~ I’m rolling my eyes at myself just a little bit.
~ I’m reading nonstop.
~ I’m trying, sometimes too hard.
~ I’m making a list, and checking it twice, and etc…
I love you guys. I do, I do, I do.
Be good to yourselves.
* * *
I can’t sleep during the time change; I want to watch the clock switch back from 1:59 to 1:00. I want to do something during that hour before I get to repeat it again.
Tonight I finished some German work. I fussed with some pictures. I listened to lots of Lou Reed. I made a few wishes. I read another chapter in The Secret History (and subsequently wished I could write something captivating someday. and subsequently made another wish). I took an online quiz. I Pinterest-ed. I laughed with The Mister. I wrote this post.
Then the clock changed, and we got to re-live an entire hour again.
It felt like it, anyway.
I don’t know, maybe you don’t see it that way.
But I’ve always loved the wee hours of the night and morning; I hate to miss them.
And now I’m off for an extra hour to sleep, or at least another chapter.
Sweet dreams, friends. I hope your extra hour was magical.
* * *
There is this moment, when you walk in the room to see the color is back in her cheeks and her eyes are shining, that you know you’re through the woods. You will notice her caution in the days ahead, the uneaten meals, and you will just caress her back and remind her it’s ok, it’s all ok.
There is this moment when her smile breaks your soul wide open, grateful that Weekend Flu is the greatest of her ills.
There is this moment when you realize how hard it is to put on a brave face sometimes, when what you really want to do is tremble a bit with overwhelm and compassion.
These moments blend together and fade quickly, newly-woven threads in the fabric of this life.