Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas...n'at

So last Christmas, I gave you my heart, the very next day, you gave it away...

No, that's not the sentiment I was going for...but seriously, even though today was a great day, I know that part of why it's great is that I'm feeling better. And I had very low expectations, which were blown out of the water, and high expectations, which were trampled on. C'est la vie!

For Christmas dinner, my cousin and her crazy family came (her two children, one boyfriend, boyfriend's daughter and daughter's daughter, who is 18 mos, and ADORABLE) and my favorite living aunt. (I only have one living aunt, so she's gotta be my favorite living one.)

When I look at the calendar that hangs in my bathroom at home, last week was a hard week for the Louise family. (Yes, when I look at it in my mind's eye, Ms. Inner English Teacher Critic) 32 years ago, Tuesday, we lost my sister Joy, a premie, who lived two weeks. Ten? years ago on Wednesday we lost my Aunt Hilda, my dad's sister. Which really sucks for my dad, who lost a daughter and a sister on back to back days.

So what I'm trying to get at, is that I get it if you are crabby and sobby and it has nothing to do with the great gifts you did or didn't get. This time of year brings out big expectations. The tree has to be big, the wrapping has to be big, everything is supposed to be super-shiny...but in reality, it is just another day. Within hours, all the planning, all the shopping, all the making, that you might have spent half a year on, well, the ownership has shifted from "I gave you this gift" to "you gave this to me." Which can be wonderful, sweet, poignant, or exhausting.

As I sat at the table with people I loved, I realized how lucky I am. I know what I want. And I don't have everything I want, but I never really will, this side of paradise. The best part was being with the fab five, the Louise fam, the we-us. My brother and I shared some words while watching "The Incredibles," after the company had gone home, my sister had gone home, and my folks had gone for a walk. He said something a little on the gossipy side, and although I knew I didn't want to go there, I responded, a little gossipy too. And he said, it's really not my business. And I said, it's really not my business either. And we stopped. Right there. If all I had to show for this day was that moment, it would be enough. Because I can see that the boy that was a screaming baby the year I was 11 (he was born on Dec. 20, 1982) (Yes, you can do the math) is going to be fine. He knows who he is too.

Best gift: audio of Marilynne Robinson's book, Gilead. Well, a piece of paper saying that it's on its way.

Best carbon footprint reducing gifts: an acre of Appalacian mountainland and some trees in Peru (Nature Conservancy and Heifer Project.)

Best gift giving moments: every single one. The thumbs up from my brother when he opened the Bob Dylan Starbucks compilation (not of Bob's songs, but of the songs he likes best.) My dad reading the credits for "It's not easy being green" an audio book compilation of Jim Henson's writings. My sister, wearing the earrings I got for her in Philly, saying, my roommate will be so jealous, and naming them in her top two gifts. I took too many pictures of her, as usual. She's my favorite photographic subject, what can I say. My mom loved the folder I made for her, monarch butterflies being the theme.

Surprise gift, something I never would have bought, but am pleased to have: Sex and the City the Movie soundtrack. (from Bird, my sister, for my birthday)

Cool fun gift: I said I wanted "bath stuff." So my sister got me a group of rubber duckies, including one which is pink! Also, some sizzling bath bead thingys.

Never would have imagined it but super-cool gift: a calendar of Texas, from my brother, who lives there. (He and Badger live in the same town, Austin, though they've never met.)

Expected and totally unwelcome gift (and TMI): my period. Yuk. So nice for you to show up for Thanksgiving and my birthday and a month later at Christmas. Timing. We've got to figure out the timing, here folks.

My mom is asking my brother if he wants to play Scrabble or Canasta. Boy am I glad I'm not an only child. All I want to do is crawl into my bed and continue reading The Audacity of Hope.

Merry Christmas, one and all. If this year sucks, January is right around the corner.

Oh, and Pistachio got her wish. Three villages will get safe water!! But I think she's still hoping for more...why not dream, @wellwishes?

I'm ready to crash. Or at least crash to read something. I can't spell it, but Cuileann can: Chus! (It means ciao in German.) (It's got a Schuss sort of vibe....)

My mom and brother are arguing over "do you accept this word" and my dad is emptying the dishwasher. My legs are cramping and there's a book in the next room with my name (well, actually Obama's) on it.

Ciao for now, later alligator, etc. Smooches and I'm outta here!!!!!!!!!!!


Badger said...

I had my unwelcome visitor on Halloween, Thanksgiving AND Christmas this year. And maybe also my birthday; I'd have to check. UGH. TIMING.

I forgot about tschuss! (That's how I learned to spell it, but with that funny B that means a double-s on the end.) I do remember "bis morgen", which means "until tomorrow!"

Merry Christmas!

Sarah Louise said...

Badger--I remembered that you had the Halloween, Thanksgiving deal going. WHYY WHY WHY??

Yes, it's that funky "B" that's a double "s." I want to get my German back, how I love that language.

Merry Christmas to you too!


KitchenKiki said...

Merry Christmas to all! Yes, Aunt Hilda is missed (it was 9 years ago, she was very excited about celebrating the millennium and missed it by days.) Not to sound preachy, but something that comforts that loss, is that this time of year is when we celebrate that God gave his Son so that we may all have everlasting life.

I'm glad you had good family time. So did I, and saw lots & lots of family.

Merry Christmas & Tschuss
(or, as we used to joke, TschuB, said chub) German continues in our house as Jeremy is majoring in it.

LemonySarah said...

Thank you for reminding us that Christmas isn't necessarily about either kids and toys or grouchy burned out grownups. Your low key adult Christmas sounds like the most thoughtful and pure Christmas of all.

Oh, and I'm all done with that whole unwelcome visitor thing! My new unwelcome visitor barges in a dozen times nightly - hello and get lost, Ms. Hotflash!

Word Verification: pooff