The best intentions were crushed under the chrome plated heel of shopping and baking yesterday.
The Matron spent something like ten hours over the past two days just in Target (not to mention the hours and hours and hours in other stores). After these ten hours at Targey Boutique, including three hours shopping with WHCBN, this conversation ensued -- at 5 pm on December 23, in the car after just leaving the Target parking lot.
HWCBN: "Mom? I need to go Christmas shopping. I still haven't gotten a gift for Scarlett and Merrick."
Matron has instant heart attack. "I'm sorry? What were we just buying? We were just in the store for nearly three hours. I need to pull over and find a paper bag in which to breath." Please note how she properly employs prepositions even in the midst of complete psychological collapse.
HWCBN: "That was Santa."
HWCBN: "That was Santa."
Guess who's in charge of Santa this year? Yes, it's the nameless young man. HWCBN is taking this so seriously that there may be a banking crisis in the household. However, Merrick will wake to a gift feast like no other.
Today, is a nonstop blur of the same, plus an afternoon at the theater, during which the Matron will watch her daughter suffer toward death in The Match Girl's Gift. If you see this show, bring tissues. There's a bit of a brighter light at the end as it's an adaptation, but still . . . . She's here to argue that there's something singular about watching your child cough to death, even if it's fake.
And in the midst of it all, there's walking the beautiful, regal bloodhound puppy and his satanic sidekick in the woods with four feet of snow and more falling. The local dog park is a stunning patch of nature in the middle of the city-- evergreens, pines, prairie grass and frozen ponds. Thirty dogs roll over one another with joy. The Matron loves how the humans huddle together and gush over the dogs. Complete strangers, they're like parents at a playgroup with toddlers, mulling over every detail.
Scarlett is radiant onstage. Something changes in her and she's a mysterious presence. The Christmas show makes people weep. Her new all-girl school has proved a perfect fit. Yesterday, a complete stranger --not for the first time -- came up to the Matron and said: "Is that your daughter? She's just beautiful." And smart, folks. Let's put that one first.
Merrick will be wearing footies all day. Because sometimes actual clothing is required, he has taken to wearing his footie pajamas under his clothes. This actually has helped the Matron because most of his pants have huge holes at the knees and now there's some degree of coverage. He is intent on serving Santa the best meal ever and in addition to cookies, Merrick is making a turkey sandwich with a dill pickle. And mashed potatoes with a note instructing Santa on where the microwave is and how to use it. The Matron will be spending much time cooking for Santa while Merrick chirps at her side.
HWCBN is Santa. And taking it seriously. He's already up and in the basement, organizing and plotting. He carefully wrote a note to Santa requesting that he himself receive fewer presents than his little brother, lest the difference in piles draw concern. While the Matron has started to hear of teenage transgressions from her friends -- some serious -- her son is focused on winning debate tournaments and getting into MIT.
As she's typing, there's already a blazing fire at 9 am on Christmas Eve day. There are four inches of snow to shovel. The postal worker will get her lovely gift today; the theater cast theirs. The cast has decided to donate money to a Haitian orphanage instead of giving the traditional gift to the director and the Matron (who collected the money) will be writing a hefty check that reminds her of the enduring light of the human spirit. Her children are strong, safe and so far, good people. John just brought yours truly a steaming cup of tea without solicitation and shows visible excitement over some box he set for her under the tree. This, after 20 years together. 20.
There are problems in every life and she doesn't mean to sugarcoat hers. Wait, yes she does. Today, she's going to enjoy the goodness, beauty and grace that underlie that life and put the problems into perspective. Lucky.
May everyone reading have the same. Thank you for being here and a wonderful Christmas to those of you who celebrate --and a peaceful days of respite for those who don't.
Merry, Merry, indeed.