Greetings from the luckiest girl in the world.
As of when? Hm. It’s been awhile now. I try not to let on, you know. I don’t want to make less lucky people feel envious or anything… When yer all like, glowy and shit you can afford that little compassion.
But today I want to sound my barbaric YAWP! over the rooftops of the world….
Why am I the luckiest girl? I was hoping you’d ask!
The first reason is simply, because I do what I love. Sometimes I do it poorly, sometimes I can barely do it at all. I may not get to keep doing it forever. When I’m doing it well, I’m cranky and intolerable. But damnit, I *love* what I do, don’t let the scowl, the absent-mindedness or the basic distraction fool you. To have the opportunity to get to do what you love with your time, even if it’s only for a year, that rocks the casbah. It is not an opportunity to be squandered.
And firstly, (because it is even more first, I was just shy about putting it first) I’m lucky because…
oh, hey, still shy. How bout that. Ah well, see my smiling face? That big-ass dopey grin? The little spots of pink on each side? Let’s see what kind of a detective you can be.
Additionally, everyone in my close family is healthy. This is huge. One day my dearest and darlingest grandparents aren’t going to be well and good, and that will be devastating to me, but today, everyone is good. Everyone is here. Everyone is well with no overlooming crisis for the holidays. That’s huge. And it’s so easy to forget… to take good health for granted unless you’ve lost someone to the terrible ravages of illness. Health of loved ones is so inherent to joy, it’s almost overlooked.
So I was thinking I’m not so much ready to do the Christmas thing, but that wasn’t really it. I feel a lot of joy this season, a lot of gratitude and good will. What I’m not into, or ready for is to get into the consumer part yet. Ironically, I know this because I’m going Christmas shopping today. It feels freakin’ weird. It feels like Christmas shopping in July, that’s how not into the consumer spirit I am feeling.
Possibly the lights and the blaring music at the retail outlet mall, and the rush for stuff, and the shop windows will light my soul afire with the need to decorate, bake and buy; but I rather hope not.
Sometimes Christmas is less but more than that. One of my favorite stories is an essay in the book ‘Pine Island Paradox’ by Kathleen Dean Moore, where her family forsakes the traditions of a big meal and copious gifts, to travel to a distant shore and wait in the darkness to watch Giant Sea Turtles crawl up on a beach in the night, and lay their precious, endangered eggs.
I thought that was so cool. Her grown children were beside her, she talks about the feeling of knowing her children and her husband won’t always be there in the dark by her side, and how she just wants to experience that shared moment so badly. Much more than a holiday whose details will blur into the many years of similar rituals.
Rituals are anchor and safety and comfort, but they’re just as important to break sometimes, so that you feel the difference. So that you feel alive.
At any rate, I’m off to go get consumered up. At least there will be Moose Munch.
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We lay on the sand with our hands clasped behind our heads and watched the night. I want to tell what it meant to me, to lie on that wild beach with my husband and our grown-up children, together again in that darkness, in that warm air. We could hear the quiet surge of the sea and sometimes the scratching of ghost crabs. Stars reflected on the wet strand- not points of light, but streaks pointing toward the beach, as if sand knew something about starlight we could only imagine. There was the smell of salt-dampened sand, and just a hint of skunk. Sometimes, a lightning bug flashed. I said to myself, hold on to this. Float on the joy of it. Feel the embrace of this little family. This will not happen again in your lifetime.
– Kathleen Dean Moore