It’s the seventh day of Christmas, so make sure you’ve gotten the appropriate swimming swans in order for your love. Michael’s variation of this gift seems to be sitting with me while we watch episodes of Great Chefs focusing on French cuisine…which I suppose is fine, considering the familiar cumulative carol likely originated in that country and undoubtedly describes the preparations for a great Twelfth Night feast.
I’m fairly new to this whole Christmas thing. My parents celebrated with a tree and gifts when I and my brother were little, but it wasn’t a religious holiday for us, and we fell out of the habit once neither of us believed in Santa. Once my grandmother died, we didn’t visit her house for the holidays either, and so I planned to spend Christmas alone the year Michael and I began dating. (I ended up driving to Mississippi to visit my parents.) Michael could barely stand it–Christmas is a big deal for his family–and so, the next year, we put up a tree in my little apartment and I went with him to his family Christmas for the first time. I was reluctant, but Michael won me over with promises involving smiling children’s faces, twinkly lights, and as many decorations as I could possibly stand to put up. Since then, I’ve come to embrace the holiday season. I especially love the idea that Christmastide carries joy and celebration beyond Christmas Day itself. Since I also love our growing collection of decorations beyond measure, I refuse to take down our tree and lights until Twelfth Night. Absolutely refuse!
Our Christmastide has been lovely so far. We travelled to Tennessee to visit with Michael’s family for the few days leading up to and following Christmas Day. We stayed with Michael’s mom, had a grand time playing with Caroline and Ella, and generally enjoyed ourselves. Melissa and Michael cooked delicious meals for the festivities in Spring Hill on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the second day. On the 27th we drove to Memphis for dinnerwith the extended family, hosted by Gramme and PopPop, which was delightful. The next day we saw Josh and Suzanne, friends of ours who will marry in May, then drove back to Atlanta to greet my parents. We’ve spent the last two days showing them around Atlanta–Dad especially liked IKEA and The Varsity–and finally, today, Michael and I are by ourselves. We plan to slip into the New Year quietly, together, sipping Prosecco and enjoying the glistening of our Christmas lights.
This year has been especially kind to us, and I must admit, I’m a little sad to see it go. We’ve been loved and lucky.
Lucky life isn’t one long string of horrors / and there are moments of peace, and pleasure, as I lie in between the blows. / … / Lucky life is like this. Lucky there is an ocean to come to. –Gerald Stern
Still, the coming year promises at least as much in the way of happiness and love, surprises and beauty, change and luck. We’re glad to ring it in together, sweet and close,and maybe a little tipsy.