Okay, so I don’t celebrate Christmas in a religious sense. We already took down our tree to rearrange our living room for our brand new Kinect (thanks to Spouse’s parents for that one!), and we had Chinese for lunch. I’m also making a Harry Potter themed dinner for us from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook that Spouse got me for my birthday. Meat and potato pasties (I guess more of a mini-pie…), buttered Brussels sprouts, and glazed carrots with mini custard tarts for dessert.
We started opening presents last night over Skype with Spouse’s family, and then we ended up diving right into the rest of it instead of waiting. We forgot about stockings. All of that is just fine. I got some pretty spectacular gifts this year — a gift card to Massage Envy (Who’s planning a spa day? Emmie is!), the biggest book I’ve ever owned — Harry Potter Filmmaking Journey — and a book to rival that size, the guide for Skyrim. Spouse also got me a heap of books, one by the late David Eddings, and the two missing books of the Fear Street Saga I’ve been trying to replace for years. Also a Buffy omnibus and a hardcover edition of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tales.
Did I ever mention I’m a big fat nerd?
Consider that mentioned.
Spouse also managed to find a steal of a deal on a gorgeous edition of Stieg Larson’s trilogy — cloth-bound hardcovers. I haven’t read them yet, but have been meaning to for some time. Suffice it to say I am quite spoiled this year. Spouse himself made out with a very expensive pair of headphones, a rather rare vinyl album, and a ukulele, which he has been talking about learning for some time now.
So we did the gift thang, in spite of a lack of the church thang, which is fine with us. We joke about SolstiChrismaKwanZukkah, and wished each other a happy solstice a few days ago. It’s been a quiet day. I have a whopping three days (the hourly equivalent of four, actually) off, and I intend to read, hop around and work up a sweat playing video games (whoever invented this is a bloody genius). And write. Of course.
Which brings me to my title.
All those things I got and bought for others this holiday season — I’d give and take it all back in a heartbeat if I could just somehow return my cousin to life, to his daughter and family who all miss him so bereftly. (I know that’s not a word, but I couldn’t find one that said what I wanted it to.) I can’t do that. That’s never been a possibility. So we slowly heal. We listen to Spouse play his ukulele. We call to hear the voices of those we love, to connect with them and remind them we’re still here. We’re still family, and even though there is a hole where Nate should be, we’re all forever bonded and changed by the memories of him that we share. We eat and hug one another. We allow ourselves to grieve when we need to. We celebrate the season as we can, regardless of which day it is.
That’s all I can do. That’s all I want for Christmas. A few precious days with my family before the dawn of a new year. The sun begins its slow return to the earth, to warm us with the hope of a coming spring.
Call someone you love today, someone you have lost touch with, someone you keep meaning to get back in touch with. Tell them you’re thinking of them, that they mean something to you. Laugh about the antics of your children or your cats. Reminisce. Reflect. Life is fragile, and winter can be dark. Remember what matters.