I tidied up the atrium, made space for the holiday tree, put lights on it and let the kids (Y and Z mostly, but X came and did a little too; W didn’t feel like it and I didn’t feel like pushing) decorate it. Then I played “O Christmas Tree” on the newly dusted piano.
The boys had skedaddled back to Minecraft by then, and T was still outside, working. He’s laid another pallet full of pavers. The guy is a terminator. He works hard all week at the office and then he comes home and works even harder on the weekend.
I felt sad and nostalgic, while playing and singing, cheerful though the songs were, for the joyful times around Xmas in our house while I was growing up; so far away, now. My mom made Xmas wonderful (and she hated the term “Xmas”). She was always playing and singing and she always got us lots of nice little presents. And it was her mood. She was cheerful and her mood was imbued with magic. And Dad would cheer her on.
My sister and I always joined in on the singing. Later, as we got older, there would always be friends dropping by, to sing with us and laugh and dance. People loved being at my parents’ place because it was warm, homey and inviting; everyone was always welcome and nothing much was ever planned or forced. People could just talk and sing and be themselves.
Mom has never been big on cooking. She could do it, but it wasn’t her forte. You can’t excel at everything.
Cooking was Grandma’s forte. And setting our hair in curlers, when we were little. She, too, made Xmas magical. But I digress.
I played “O Christmas Tree,” by the newly decorated tree, and I wished that the boys would join me. I thought about wrangling them away from their computers, but I didn’t have the psychological energy.
Then I realized something: my mom had been so magical and cheerful because she didn’t really wrangle us too much. She just sat down and reverently, joyfully played music. And we would gravitate towards that. Then, after a while, she’d stand up from the piano bench and cajole us into taking over. And we would, while she’d go put food on trays and into the oven.
So I played, by myself, in the atrium, and just got mindful of the notes and the tune and the words. I praised our little holiday tree, and instead of yearning for something other than what was, I felt truly grateful for the moment, as it was, and for all that I held inside of it.
And then my littlest man came over and watched, and later his brother was there too, and soon I’m showing them how to read the verses and the coda, and soon Z is taking over for me at the piano, playing a plink-plonk robotic composition of his own devise.
And T is back in the house, making pizza.
And life is beautiful, for this moment.
- Image: our Solstice tree, next to the piano in the atrium.
- Tree-decorating music: Blue Christmas (Elvis Presley)
- Awesome kids’ Christmas book (French): Les Folies du Père Noël (the theme is basically “Santa vs the machine”) by Marie Cardouat. Beautiful illustrations.
[Journal headers moved to end. Copied here for fellow journalers who find the process interesting. This is the format with which I start each entry, most mornings:]
2018-12-10 06:32, Sunday; Auvergne, France, 5C
Before bed: Y and Z storytime (Les Folies du Père Noël); before that: family pizza & movie night: two Xmas episodes of Big Bang Theory (one showed a frightening image of Howard’s mom as a corpse in one of his fantasies; truly not appropriate for young kids. Especially before bed. Our bad.)
Done since waking: meditating and rewriting some prayers, in my head. Calisthenics and yoga. Then some impromptu reading, commenting and editing. Writing in the bath, now, in a nest of blankets.
Nadine inhales & exhales words & images from current vantage point in Zone of Emptiness, France. If you wish to contribute and/or show appreciation, please recommend/like and/or comment — or write an email via the contact page. Feedback welcome. Thank you for reading. 🖤