Friday, December 20, 2002

Christmas Moments: The Good, The Bad, and the Stupid

The Angel of Remembrance, with Willow branches

Hoorah for a short day with nothing much to do but eat too much gift chocolate, hand out hand creams and sweet-smelling soaps to coworkers, and chat with giddy students with time to savor. By noon we had locked the doors to the library next door and were closed for the Holidays. Spent just shy of two hours at the Library/Media annual Christmas party, mostly on a couch chatting with Shane about dogs and cats while we watched...dogs and cats. Too few people under a two-story tree in a cavernous house; Chinese food and Fresca and chocolate desserty thingies I never got to; after squeezing past the minivans in the mud-packed driveway, I decided to go into town for a short shopping trip in hopes of buying Darcie a good Christmas present.

Have I mentioned that I am an idiot? I had told Darcie that I'd be home by three. But by 4:00, after not finding any of the three things I want to get her but buying her a very cool wine valour button down and a beaded glasses neck chain, and of course buying a Holly-motif outfit in denim and green valous for Willow and the Willow Tree angel ornament you see above, I bumped into Laura, a friend and co-worker, and she didn't have to twist my arm very hard to buy me a beer and a clove cigarette in Taylors, which serves perfect buffalo wings...what with one thing and another, as my mother used to say when skipping the boring parts of the book, time passed.

I hereby announce that I Did It Wrong; I, too, would have thought of the rain and the bald tires on the slippery wet roads and panicked; I, too, would have been scared and angry if I were in Darcie's place. Good thing I had presents. After dinner and an hour for Darcie to thaw, we sat by the tree and opened (some) presents this evening while Willow gurgled under the tree and batted at the lights and Santas. My loverly Unitarian wife got me a tallis and yarmulke set in embroidered cotton and gold-panted silk, an extraordinary thoughtful gesture and a show of support for raising Willow truly of two faiths rather than in a combination of the two. It's the high road and quite likely impossible to raise a kid comprehensively in two faiths at once, but we're giving it the ol' prep try.

Then bathtime, a time when I am able to serve my most neurotic and anxious instincts towards the baby: so much can go wrong, and so much can be scrutinized when naked and clean. Usually there's nothing to make a fuss over but what-ifs, but tonight for one horrible moment we thought the baby was allergic to the Christmas tree. A rash was spreading across her torso, vivid red bumps magnified bigger-than-goosepimple by our concern; after her bath with Darcie, the bumps started spreading to her back. Whooping cough is going around the school; it's too early for Willow's boosters to have kicked in and both Darcie and I, although innoculated since childhood, could be carriers, so the little nervous man that lives in my skull has plenty to worry about these days.

Sickness is scary; it gets easier and easier to imagine the horrow of losing her as Willow appears to be turning into a person right before our very eyes. Tonight she hit primate stage, lifting her feet up to the sky and rolling over in one smooth move, curling up like an orangutan against Darcie to nurse. Our little monkey. Sniff. Too cute. Too hilarious.

Cuddles by the virtual hearth with Darcie afterwards, flipping the channels from awful Christmas movies to awful Christmas specials to awful A Very Special Christmas episodes of shows we don't want to watch anyway, talking of college days, and none of your business, anyway.

Oh, Thursday? Not much to write about, really; a few late Channukah presents from Darcie, including For The Kids, a very cool kids album which comes with a crayon. Mine's green. Mostly muppets songs but a few oddities on this one, and a great cast: Barenaked Ladies cover my favorite Sesame Street song La La La La Lemon; Sarah McLachlan does justice to The Rainbow Connection; Cake does Manah Manah and Glen Phillip does Have a Little Fun With Me; Guster and Dan Zanes and Tom Waits, oh my; Billy Bragg and Wilco cover an odd little Guthrie tune called My Flying Saucer...oh, just buy it from Amazon already.

Shopping with Darcie and Virginia tomorrow in Northampton; later, the big school Christmas party, this year big in spirit but smaller in spirits, due to a budget crunch. Surely more to speak of then, traditionally drunk (well, it is my yearly Holiday party tradition to get trashed and have an incoherent conversation with the Headmaster).

posted by boyhowdy | 11:53 PM |

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