So good to be home again for Christmas. And although the weather in Virginia resembles winter even less than Texas this year, the air in this place is just as light with the excitement and comfort of yuletide festivities as in those younger years of counting down days ’till December the twenty-fifth.
Christmas in the Baker household is never dull. With Dad constantly creating some sort of culinary masterpiece, Mary Beth and Rose harmonizing to piano plinkering, and Sarah decorating anything that can support it, there is a general hubbub of evergreen expectation around the holidays, which I look forward to all year long.
We all missed Jean Marie this Christmas. I know I wasn’t home the last go-round, but being here this year with everyone but her was a constant reminder of the rapid progression of our lives and the dispersion of our family. Marriage does that, and as happy the wishes I send her way this Christmas, especially as she and Tom are soon-to-be parents of a beautiful baby boy, I can’t help but miss those days of sleeplessly awaiting Santa Claus with her in that old attic room.
Of course, amidst the events of Christmastide celebration, I found time to waste photographing ornaments and lights:
Coming home on Friday night to this tree [decorated by the expert hand of my older sister, Sarah, of course] reminded me of the anticipation I used to feel about Christmas. It used to be magical, spiritual, rejuvenating; but somewhere in the course of life I grew up, grew cynical. Christmas was just a financial burden, let alone an emotionally stressful time of changing plans, making concessions for family, and attempting to uphold a cheerful mood when all I wanted to do was be left to myself. This year, up until I walked into my house on Friday, I knew it was going to be worse than ever. But somehow, at some point, something changed.
I’m not sure if it was Sally [the new cat] and her massive feline eyes,
or maybe it was the noteworthy amount of alcohol we all enjoyed.
It might have been the constant music playing somewhere around the house,
or the fact that every room was adorned with decorations, both tacky and beautiful.
But the most perfect part of the holiday was having Dad home from Hawaii, Carl and Mary Beth visiting from their hectic lives in D.C., and everyone else home in this house I always manage to forget how much I love, and how deeply I miss it when I’m gone.
Then again, it very well might have been the inordinate amount of scrabble games we played, which made this year so noteworthy…
…but regardless, this Christmas was perfect.
And at the end of the day, I am humbled at the recognition of the enormity of my own blessings.
May the thrill of Christmas bring excitement, fulfillment, joy, and contentment to you and yours, and may that carry you through the year to come.