Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hello from Sunny Florida

It happens every year. It never fails to surprise me when it is 78 degrees on Christmas Eve. I know, I know... I lived my whole life here until a few short years ago, and I've returned here every Christmas since...but still! 78 degrees??! In December??! What the what? This year, instead of mentally fighting it, I'm trying to fully embrace it. For instance, I actually packed a pair of shorts and two pairs of flip flops this year. Whereas in the past, I have suffered in silence in my jeans and oh-so-cool (NOT) urbanite black sweaters and boots. Nope, I've gotten on the crazy train this time. And I'm so much less irritable. Go figure. Maybe the Snowbirds have something here after all. It is really quite a scene. We've already been to the beach, collected shells, watched children splash and turn blue in the waves (hey, I haven't completely lost it - the Atlantic is COLD in December) and adopted a mostly-bare-feet policy for the week. Big Stuff and Small Fry, although consumed with Christmas-is-coming ADD madness, are taking to long hours in the backyard, lots of satellite TV and wearing their bathing suits once daily. Thank goodness I don't have to put on my bathing suit. Because I just can't stop eating. My people are amazing cooks, and they just don't stop the cooking and the eating, they don't care how big your butt gets. BTW, Small Fry asked me yesterday if "ass" is a bad word. New Year's Resolution #1: Stop eating every two hours. You are not a newborn. Resolution #2: Stop saying ass in front of the children. Now have a merry Christmas, people...and if you are a non-Floridian, don't hate me because I'm sweating.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Christmas, Oh Christmas. A blur of expectation, getting ready for this event and that one, enjoying this event and that one, creating meaning, living tradition. It's exhausting but I love the magical moments that happen, especially those that you least expect. Like tearing up in the American Girl store, knowing how happy Santa's gift is going to make one and yet feeling so melancholy in the knowledge that the other is way past such childish things as dollies with matching shoes and hats. Only six Christmases have come and gone, and yet Big Stuff is already "too old" for some of the "wow" toys! How did that happen?? More melancholy comes over me in the clothing store, when I realize that I can't really buy them matching dresses this year on account of the embroidered peter pan collar and soft brown velvet jumper with the pearl buttons that I'm getting for Small Fry will just be too little girly for my big girl. Who by the way, insisted on wearing a stained Silverbacks soccer T-shirt with camo gauchos on pajama day today because she was too "embarrassed" to wear her cute baby blue bunny Christmas pj's on the bus. And you're not embarrassed to wear that get-up, I kept wanting to blurt out. But I didn't. Because it's starting to be important not to be embarrassed on the bus. And I remember how that felt. Although I was probably in the 6th grade before I knew from embarrassment, but still. I remember. But here's something she's not too old for. Not yet anyway. Santa. Reindeer. The tooth fairy. Kitchen fairies. Wary and watchful (and beloved, don't you know) elves who bring messages to Santa every night. Thank goodness we still have some magic alive and well in this home. But for how long? Is it strange that sometimes I want to whisk my brood away and go live in Walnut Grove, in a little log cabin? On Christmas Eve I could tuck my girls, in bedcaps and braids, into their rope beds in the loft while a merry fire crackles outside my and Pa's bedroom door. Someplace far away from Hannah Montanas and Wiis and Playstations and Spongebob Scarepants? And they would be thrilled with candy canes and oranges in their stockings and those incredibly special rag dolls I made from quiliting scraps? Is that so wrong?? Obviously, I would never survive the bone cracking hard work it took to live On The Prairie but it's a nice thought anyway. And I shall savor these magical times, even if they insist on sliding through my fingers like running creek water.