Well, it's over now isn't it? All except for the Birthday which has always been a non sequitor. We spent the day with most of my siblings and their grown children. Way too much alcohol was consumed before we even sat down to dinner. The usual family madness ensued--a lot of singing, maniacal laughter, pain so thinly veiled as to seep through the smiles and overall bedlam.
Dinner was excellent. And, some sweet intimate conversations took place before booze mad it impossible. This years "birthday cake" consisted of two cans of cranberries sprayed with whipping cream and a candle stuck into the mess as thirty people wailed "Happy Birthday" in purposefully off-key and off-tempo loudness. They were quite proud that they'd actually "made" me something. In (all) past years my "birthday cake"--whether on xmas day or the actual day of my birth (Dec 26th) has been a half-eaten-whatever-pie-is-handy with what-ever-candle-is-handy stuck into it with the "traditional Family Rendition of Happy Birthday." So, if I'm non-plussed about your Birthday when it rolls around, perhaps this will go a way toward explaining why!
Maybe, I'm getting too old for it all. Maybe there really was more alcohol consumed this year. Maybe, I've become accustomed to my chosen family who are actually thoughtful and kind.
Having gotten that off my chest, I'm going to remember this Winter Season as the one where my kids and I spent a lot of time together crafting, cooking, laughing, talking and learning. Last night, after my son went to sleep, my daughter and I lay on her bedroom floor talking slumber-party-style late into the night. There was a lot of gratitude and truth shared as well as many hugs.
Today, as the grown ups lifted the many-eth glass to toast after dinner, I watched with pride as my kids cleared dishes, put things away and waited patiently for an adult to suggest they open gifts. My daughter, now as tall as me, carries herself like a graceful warrioress. And, my son, after what seemed an eternity, is looking like a healthy boy capable of maintaining his own equilibrium. They are both thoughtful, gentle, sweet people. They are the lights in my life, my most exacting Teachers.
As my own Year Wheel turns, I look at these two beings birthed from my body and raised solely by me and think, "This is your greatest Work."
We drove home in silence. They went directly to bed. And I am grateful for these quiet hours alone, the flickering candle light on the altars, the many wirey silver hairs appearing amid the darker ones (oh, please let me have silver hair like my father did), sweet rose-frankincese in the air, clean sheets on my big bed and another year coming quickly to a close. I do not have to hear any more xmas music. And, when I awake in the morning, a new year begins for me. Happily, my daughter bakes and there will be a real cake, lovingly made, and a sweet rendition of Happy Birthday sung with heart, soul and sincerity.