I'm a little envious of you who are knee-deep in snow right now. Despite all the hoo-haa, we in my little burg got a whole lot of nothing. Just cold. And wind. What fun is that without snow?
We've been laying low. not as low as Thanksgiving where we dodged any and all stressy family scenarios claiming mental wellness needs, but pretty low nonetheless. Xmas was good - as good as it could get. Which means, despite my days of anxiety leading up to it, it wasn't that bad at all.
but it's good enough
Xmas Eve was with my side of the family: mom, dad, aunt, (very pregnant) cousin, her new husband, brother, brother's girlfriend, yippy dog and me and dutiful M. I feared I wouldn't be able to manage the unwrapping of what I was sure to be mountains of adorable baby girl things. If those things were in the house, they were graciously kept under the tree to be unwrapped in the am. (thank you)
Most of the evening was actually spent with me and M explaining that yes, there are many, many things that vegans can eat, just not a single thing on the butter-drenched table. (don't cry for us - M and I expected as much and feasted on nice wine, gourmet gnocchi and some homemade sauce before we got there.) So, with a fresh bottle of red in hand, we got through dinner just fine.
M. was annoyed at presents from my parents. My brother and I were unsympathetic since, well, this is our lives. To expect that what you unwrap has anything remotely to do with you or that there was any thought put into whether or not you might like/use/know what it is - those are luxuries for other families, not ours. So, I took over unwrapping duties and smiled widely at our snuggie blanket and flannel pj bottom M would never ever EVER be caught dead in, said thank you, moved on. And to be frank, we received far more than I ever expected. My brother and I concur, it was one of the better gift-getting years. M doesn't know what he's talking about.
I was pleasantly surprised by my dad's humor, aggravated by mom's pained silence. She seems to be pissed at all of us (meaning, me, bro, M and dad) but none of us can figure out why. Can't be bothered to waste my font on this right now.
Xmas day was spent at our place. M's parents showed up with the poodles and surprise delights from a new vegan-friendly restaurant down the road. I made pierogi, tried some new recipes (roasted yellow split pea and rosemary dip? stuffed cherry peppers with pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes? damn. good.) and we ate, and ate and ate all day.
Gift giving. Gift receiving: I am not sure which stresses M out the most. They could be equal. But the moment of unwrapping - that moment so many of us enjoy - he absolutely dreads. And doesn't do a terribly good job of faking it. But he tries. He worries if people will like what he's got them. He stresses over how much someone has spent on him, especially if its something he isn't sure he will use....as you can see, its all pretty stressful. So, the day was good, but I was fairly certain he would unravel at some point.
And....he did. right after he tripped and took a nasty fall taking and armful of presents and puppies out to his parents' car. It just takes an event, one bruise, one loose thread to set the Sad in motion.
But it wasn't so bad. We stopped. We talked. We admitted, presents be damned, who wants any of it when what you want isn't here? Surrounded by so much excess, the absence, man, it hurt. It hurts.
So, we did a shot, grabbed a blanket, went to the couch and hugged. He found a new game on the PS3 to numb his mind. I busied myself with new cookbooks. But mostly, we just sat quietly in each others' presence, because we didn't want to be apart.
And really, that's not so bad.
Yesterday was the final round of our Xmas weekend. Closing off festivities with my brother, his girlfriend and their cast of characters at his house. Gifts ranged from ridiculous (shake weights!) to ridiculous-er (blow-up doll!) and dear sweet baby Jesus please do not let me tagged in any of those photos in FB. I am merely an observer. I swear.
So, we made it. Xmas 2010. Over. In the books. Done! Now to the real goodness, a few days of sleeping in, working from home when the mood strikes, catching up on emails and other pieces of life that are hard to fit into normal days, like um, blogging.
I hope you all had a peaceful holiday, can enjoy some days off and are looking forward to 2011. I so am.