Christmas is in 10 days. And I love Christmas... like as is loveloveloveloveLOOOOVE Christmas! When we were kids we lived with my Grandfather in a house that was old. It creaked and groaned and seemed to take days for the wood furnace to heat up enough that your legs didn't ache from your feet being on a cold floor. Funny how we didn't think about that as kids... all we knew was that when you woke up you went quickly to one of the big registers and sat on it until the chill had passed.
We weren't allowed out of bed before 7am. As a kid this was a great travesty for me since many of my friends always boasted about being up at 2 and 3 in the morning. No us. We could look in our stocking if we got up at 6, but other than that, the treasures under the tree waited until the whistle blew at the mill about a mile and a half from our house. It seemed extra loud on Christmas morning, but that was probably because we waited so eagerly. I don't ever remember a Christmas where mom went to bed. I'm proud to say that I lovingly carry on that tradition... even though it drives Peter nuts. It's good for us all.
So the whistle would blow and my grandfather would arrive home shortly thereafter. He was the night watchman and would come home smelling like fresh pine and spruce and to this day it is one of the most wonderful smells I know. This is something satisfying about it that gives me a sense of rest and calm. Maybe it's the earthiness of it, the rawness... the fact that there is nothing artificial about it. Dad would have started the fire by now, the old house chugging like an old steam engine heading up a long hill with a heavy load... it would make it there but it might take awhile.
For me it has never been about the stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love the stuff... love to buy it, try it on, wrap it, unwrap it, bask in the sheer stuff-ness of it all... but it's more than that. One of Peter's old friends won 30 million dollars a few years back on the lottery and all I can think of is how sad Christmas must be... they don't help out at shelters or lend a hand or donate or be a first person involved anywhere and I think that's a shame. When you have so much and give little there seems to be some serious joy lacking somewhere. But to each their own. I think I said awhile back that I would make a great philanthropist.
So here I am. It's been -36 since I've arrived just west of where I had been. We are slowly settling into our home as a family... a unit working together. And while we're trying our best to sort things through, you see the struggles and triumphs all rolled together... and you see us making up our minds as to which one it will be. It's not perfect but it's pretty darn close to being just right. And while I'm feeling like I have little direction as to where I'm supposed to go and craving the routine I left behind, I know that it will come... eventually.... and in ways I never expected. Our little storybook town sent out a list of places to volunteer and right now they need adult literacy tutors... and I can't think of anything more satisfying to do.
The tree is up, Barney is on... which makes me laugh since the kid that would be watching it is in bed... soon we will gather ourselves to pull together our Christmas grocery shopping... and we have much to be thankful for. Now if we could just get the blowup Santa and Snowman up we'd be all set...............