The lights have been on, the bells have been ringing, the presents given and unwrapped. So much preparation goes into the holidays and then it seems like it passes so quickly and we are beginning a new cycle. It’s worth reflecting upon what the season has brought us, besides boxes that need to be ripped up and put out to the trash.
There are the assorted ugly sweaters, the odd and useless gifts that will take up room in our homes until we either figure out how to give them to someone else or quietly slip them in the garbage bin without the giver seeing us. Having been ridiculed by my family for years for the one strand of lights that I hopelessly crossed back and forth on the outside of my house, I finally wised up and lived up to my name: Laser! Got two of them and they decorate the whole house without a damn string of lights. Brilliant! But they will get packed up with the lonely exception of a psychedelic Grayrider show sometime in 2017. The tree will come down, the ornaments put away. I will have to get to work on all those books people gave me to read.
After New Year’s it will be months before a really good party is had. So we will go into hibernation for the winter here at the beach. Eventually snow will come. I will break out shovels that I have had since before Sandy. The mermaid will remind me that this is how men over 60 die every year. I will be so happy to be reminded of my mortality and shovel even harder. Asleep on the couch after my first phase of shoveling, my mermaid will secretly pay the army of boys living next door to finish the job, and then claim that they are just really nice people. And I will not be able to protest, because in fact, they are!
Eventually I will look in my closet and notice several new pieces of clothing that I didn’t realize were in my closet. These are the gifts that I considered ugly and useless, but now stuck in the house for months, suddenly realize that are actually really nice. The mermaid will have been wearing new clothes for several straight weeks at this point, claiming that they were gifts too, not realizing that I read the credit card bills and only fake that I don’t.
It is about this time that I realize what a truly blessed season this time of year is. The family gathers, we watch It’s a Wonderful Life, I cry during the show and the commercials. I see friends and people I haven’t seen all year, we hug and it is heartfelt. It is a time of year that people really put thought and effort into spreading cheer, that the city and our town really light up, not just with presents and lights but with real authentic love for each other. And it is a time when you realize that those gifts were especially thoughtful and kind, and in some case necessary. Like the replacement coat for the one you have been wearing since Sandy, but really love, but know in your heart it is time to say good-bye to.
It is truly a time to love those close to us, and to remember those who have left us, and smile, knowing that they still love us, and we love them. It is a time to reflect on all these things, and to know, that we are truly blessed.