I recently posted about Christmas miracles — the small ones that we often forget about. I wished all my readers miracles big and small — little did I know I’d be the recipient of one myself. 😉
You see, by the time Christmas got around this year, I was pretty cranky. No, I don’t think it showed on the outside — I’ve learned how to plaster a smile on my face and trudge on — but I wasn’t having any fun. I overdo each and every year. Perhaps it is because I was raised in a family with several generations of women who all cooked, decorated, and wrapped gifts together. Christmas was tiring but fun. We had elaborate feasts — my father expected 12 different kinds of fish to be served on Christmas Eve alone! We pretty much ate ourselves silly for days, and in-between, we played games, sang songs, and the women, together, dealt with mounds of dishes, and pots and pans, and left-overs, while the men sat around and did– well, basically nothing.
I supposed I’m a sexist at heart — it’s my desire to do all these things for my family — well, not the 12 fish dishes anymore — but I want everyone pampered, and I am the one who wants to do the pampering. It’s my way of feeling female, and nurturing, but I forget that we are no longer an army of women. Now, I’m the last of my line, and it’s all on my shoulders alone.
That alone makes me sad. Somehow, though, keeping Christmas special, makes me feel as if I’m honoring all those generations of women before me. I might be incapable of making my grandmother’s special fig cookies — a recipe that took over twenty ingredients and three days to prepare — pure heaven, but now only a memory — but I can do all the other trimmings and laugh as the men in my family rub their tummies and sigh in exhausted contentment.
So after weeks of decorating, shopping, wrapping, grocery hunting, etc, and days of cooking, it really got to me. Even doing things little-by-little, with a friend’s help, was too much. I was in so much pain by Christmas Day that all the delight had gone out of me. I guess my husband saw it in my eyes — because he got up and without me asking him — let me repeat that — without me asking him — chopped vegetables, cleaned pots, emptied the dishwasher, trudged up and down stairs to get things from the basement, and helped me serve and then clear and put everything away.
Can I say I love this man?
He’s always there for me, offering an arm, a hand, his devotion — and often, I take it for granted. This act of outright love and concern, on a day he rightly thinks is about relaxing from his very taxing work, thrilled me more than if I’d found a diamond tiara under the tree. I truly can think of no better gift, and no better man.
And guess what? I actually enjoyed Christmas! I was tired, but no longer cranky, and I felt wrapped in the love of my family. What better gift can I find than that?
Happy Holidays to you all, and may you all find similar miracles of love and understanding — and help — as your gifts in the New Year ahead.