I’m having a hard time feeling the season this year. Maybe it’s because Hanukkah was so early that all the other fun stuff happening around me feels like background noise. Or maybe it just feels that way because I’ve been sick since the day before Thanksgiving and I’m so congested and clogged I feel like I’m in a tunnel. I digress.
This time of year is always so busy. There are so many things going on – deadlines at work, school projects, parties, gift buying, travel planning, visit anticipation and more. I find it so easy to say no and just hibernate because a.) Mini-me is a home body and really loves just hanging out, and b.) I can still pretty much prevent Mini-me from hearing about cool happenings out and about so she doesn’t nag me to go. But now, I want to get out, see, enjoy and relish.
Everyone has lots of traditions this time of year. As usual, we will repeat some, tweak a few others and cast a few aside to embrace something new or special, even it’s only this year.
Every year, we go to the boat parade. We bundle up (yes people, it gets cold in Arizona) and head down to Tempe Town Lake where boat owners decorate their rides for the holidays and then drink until dark when they then navigate down the watery parade route while singing very off key Christmas carols. This year, we got invited to a party for the same night. A party where friends we don’t see nearly often enough will gather to visit and celebrate the season. I readily accepted…and forgot about the conflicting date. Upon this realization, Mini-me tilted her head, pushed her glasses up and decided that we’ve seen the parade so many times and that putting on some party clothes and seeing friends would be well worth the break in tradition. (Holy shit, when did Mini get so grown up?)
So, this weekend we won’t go to the boat parade but we will have some much anticipated time with friends. Mini-me will be baking horse treats with her Barnstormer friends, we will finish our holiday shopping, there will be Sunday schooling and present wrapping. Somewhere in there, we will be cookie baking and chili making. I will not let any grinchiness invade our days.
Like other years, we will celebrate Christmas with my family in CA. We will take walks; there is lots of hot chocolate, some baking, drinking (okay, probably more than our fair share of that) and lots of visiting. I’ve decided to embrace the craziness that is the season, especially in that neck of the woods, and take Mini-me to see what happens in those communities. I’m breaking the tradition of Mini watching too much TV and me sitting on my ass reading the cool catalogs and magazines that pile up and we’re going to get out and do. I’ve got some ideas….and even if no one else is brave enough to join us, we will embrace it. Fuck the traffic, screw the crowds - there are beautiful decorations up, lovely music playing and amazing windows to admire. We will fully embrace it because this tradition may change next year.
And, upon our return home – the celebration for Mini and I will truly begin. That is when our time with my Big Susan, Geek and her mini-geek, Kooky, begins. There will be visiting, nonstop chatting, shopping, sleepovers, desserts before dinner, just dancing, roller skating and lots of laughs. That is when our friends that are our family surround us – Tia Bra and Tia Crafty (sisters to Geek) and their families – it’s not the holiday without being with this bunch. Mini-me is already complaining she won’t be there for Noni’s Christmas Day schnitzel but I’ve promised her we’ll make some just for her. This is where Noni hugs Mini-me and yells at her like any of the other grandchildren. It is where the Tia’s include Mini-me in the kids’ activities. It is where I sit with my crazy half-Mexican/half-German pseudo-sisters and gossip and laugh. It is where we send the kids outside to play, where we all visit and catch up, where we shake our heads at how much the kids have grown and where I realize that I’m so lucky to not only know these people – but love them.
I’m excited about my time off. There are lots of projects around the house calling my name. There is cleaning to do, organizing that has to happen. None of it matters. I will celebrate the season – and cast those things aside for one more visit with family or a friend, one more long walk to admire the lights, another exhausting outing with all the kids or one more cup of tea with Geek. I will let the Mini-Me and Kooky stay up way too late and eat too many cookies. I will not spend my time trying to get just the right picture but instead live in the moment and treasure the memory.