12 December, 2006

holiday meanderings

One thing about my mother in law: she can SHOP. Food, clothes, books, Christmas ornaments, even apartments and houses! She loves to shop. Now, normally I do not. As you know, food is the exception: I'll go in any place that purports to act as a food purveyor and be quite happy. But clothes, well, I wear the same things over and over, and if they aren't black they're grey. Books, I tend to read the same things over and over! Or really branch out and read the new thing just out, by someone I already love. And I have so many Christmas ornaments from these many years of married bliss that I really should never buy another. Don't even get me started on the real estate hell that is rapidly taking over our lives.

So I have to admit that Rosemary's arrival has been a real shot in my acquisitive, commercial and holiday spirit arm! Boy have we shopped. Not even so much buying things, although Marks and Spencer benefited a lot from a sort of random "hey, this would do for Sarah!" moment last night. But we have been in and out of Selfridges hundreds of times, and little shops in St. Christopher's Place, and everywhere around school. She is such a tireless walker, too, that we've been getting plenty of exercise. Then, too, my father in law Jack arrived on Sunday and he just eggs us on. It's good for people like me who tend to run a track in sort of a triangle: home, stable and school, and I just wear that out, but never do anything new. We've had fun. And of course we've spent plenty of time the three of us, and four of us including John (when he's not running apartments and houses to earth in his tireless search for our next home) doing the home, stable and school circuit.

I'm definitely getting in the mood for Christmas. What are your earliest childhood Christmas memories? Mine are funny, not really about Christmas per se, but family things with a holiday tint. One of my most cherished is of my new baby sister dressed in a minute Santa suit given her by two maiden aunts who were our rare babysitters (my parents' budget not really running to a night life), in her antique cradle, beside the fireplace my dad built. And speaking of my dad, he claims to be the Compleat Curmudgeon the rest of the year, but Christmas turns him to complete mush. He often says he wishes he could keep my mother's beautiful decorations up all year round. And my brother and me waiting at the top of the steps outside our bedrooms, waiting for my father to bring us a glass of orange juice before we descended into Christmas land, because allegedly my mother once fell downstairs from being lightheaded and spent Christmas concussed. This being my family and given its penchant for Writer's Embellishment, one never knows, but the tradition holds. And being given the mammoth task of vacuuming the family room before my grandparents' visit, and my grandfather's booming laugh and pipe smoke, his face obscured by armloads of towering presents, my grandmother laughing gently, nicely girdled.

And coming home from college, completely worn out by the round of exams and partying, to my mother's perfectly decorated house, several Christmas trees all round the place, mulling spices simmering on the stove, and not having to DO anything to get it that way! Adult Christmas, especially with a small child, is another matter. Everything that needs to be done has to be done by... me! And my husband, who would also like to "smallen down" as Avery says, and have Christmas done for us, at times! Youth is wasted on the young, as they say.

All right, it's time to produce spaghetti and meatballs, amidst the piles of wrapping paper, endless bottles of single malt scotch that accompany any gathering of John and his dad, and figs in every form to please my mother in law. Avery has just burst in from riding, so between those stories and homework, I had better scoot.

1 comment:

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