After Christmas Glow

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas morning arrived with a chilly rain and strong winds. The stockings were stuffed to the brim and the tree sparkled above the lovingly wrapped gifts. Everyone was surprised and warmed by the thoughtfulness of the members of our wee family. 

In the past, as the only adult in the house, my stocking was left limp and empty. However, this year I was remembered and gifts were showered upon me, simple but perfect. Thoughtful gifts, picked out with only me in mind. It made me smile.

We spent a lovely morning with my mother and aunt. We brought the table into the living room, close to the tree and heater! We feasted on Creme Brule French toast and Asparagus Frittata. There was fresh egg nog, sweet conversation and I was able to witness the lovely bond between my mother and daughter.

The afternoon was spent with my immediate and extended family. Now, as the youngest of eight children, the baggage we all tote around can be quite a burden. I have worked very hard over the last few years to release my mother and father from the bonds of what I THOUGHT they SHOULD be and try to see them for who they are. A man and a woman, who came together to bring these eight souls into the world, not a bad task really. They were not perfect but what I do know, is that they worked very hard to provide for us. We lived in a very small house with 11 people. I suppose that is why I am so comfortable in our wee cottage. I am used to bodies on top of each other and a long line for the toilet.

From the beginning, I have been the black sheep of my family, the hippie, the irresponsible one who ran off to India with my infant daughter. I was the one who has always brought my bags to the grocery store, shopped at Farmer's Markets and spent much of my life as a strict vegetarian. I know this may not sound far fetched in these times, but in the 80's-90's, I was quite the rebel in my mostly mainstream, materialistic family. I ate beets. That one fact drove them mad. I did not eat eggs. My sister and her husband are very successful chicken ranchers. That drove them mad too. One year, as my brother-in-law was driving me to the airport to hop on a plane to one of the silly, exotic cities I called home, he turned to me with head tilted and asked, "How did you even wind up in this family?" I don't know, brother. I don't know. my brothers and sisters stood around the bar taking tequila and vodka shots, I snuggled in with the kidlettes. Don't get me wrong, there was a time when I would be right there at the bar. A time long, long ago. I was a little uncomfortable that some family feuds were solved while liquor was involved. Can a conflict born of true emotion really be resolved while intoxicated? Will it stick when the pseudo-euphoria wears off? 

I left feeling tired, but more true to myself than any other time. There is no judgment, I hope it does not come off that way. I have just found that I am feeling a little more comfortable in my own skin. A little more confident in the choices I have made over the years. I feel as though I am not bound by my birth order, the baby of a large brood. Just as a middle child or the oldest child, the baby holds a set of challenges all it's own. Running to catch up with everyone, never quite pleasing everyone all the time. I know, I think it is a baby thing, or a human thing.

I am feeling a little glowy in my revelations and welcome the messages of these holy nights. We are enjoying the last few days with the glimmer of the tree in our home and the feeling that only giving of the heart can provide. It is the after Christmas glow, but I hope we can keep it alight for many more days...