Friday, December 26, 2003

Christmas, Passed

As usual, at Darcie's parent's house, the big wooden interior, stone-stove heated family estate up in Brattleboro. We arrived just before ten to find Ginny and Ryan already there, making coffee while Patty peeled eggs for deviling. Neil played with Willow on the wooden boat he'd built his own chidren long ago. Soon Josh and Clay arrived, adding their gifts to the pile under the tree. With Alicia and Matt visiting his family in Florida for the holidays, we'd hit quorum right on time.

Darcie's grandmother up the hill had asked that we be finished with gift-giving by the time we went outandback to get her at eleven; this added a bit of pressure to the exchange this year, so instead of watching each other open presents, one by one, as in past years, this year we doubled up. Maybe that's why it seems like we had less than in the past. No matter: the getting was good, and the giving much appreciated; Ryan's two-canvas painting of Virginia even brought tears to Patty's eyes, and the hand-painteds Darcie'd been slaving over for days went over smashingly.

Gots? Much handmade food -- biscotti and fudge, chocolate-covereds and macaroons. Stocking-stuffers, from post-its and pens and shopping list pads with magnets to attach them to the fridge to a battery-operated crazy straw that lights up when you suck through it. Fourteen avi-format episodes of Fraggle Rock on three CDs. Calendars, as always, from Darcie's grandmother. And intangibles: commitments for babysitting, cash for hot tubbing.

Willow made out like a bandit. A stacking set of paper blocks colorfully decorated with pictures from the book Mama Do You Love Me. Mobiles and juice boxes; ornaments and books. Sticker sheets of all sorts of animals, enough for a month of wall-plastering. She's been riding her small wheeled horse up and down the hallway all morning. The huge scooter-wheeled wagon didn't fit in the car; Neil and Patty will bring it down in their hatchback next week after we return from our own trip down south.

Food afterwards, with a picked-up-late grandmother and Darcie's Aunt Vivian: Chocolate yule log, deviled eggs, fruit of all exotic types, and more coffee and lattes than anyone should have on a warm sunny christmas morning, relaxing with family. I pulled a gleeful Willow up and down the gravelly mud of the driveway in her new cart while the neighborhood dogs jumped around us. We were gone by two, and, the Christmas spirit still in me somehow, I cleaned the house and made dinner, an unusual frenzy of domesticity, so that Darcie could have some stress-free time with her daughter, for a change.

And now we're off in a few for that hottubbing experience down in Northampton, while Ginny watches the baby at her house -- a real date, perhaps one of the best kinds of Christmas present, no matter when it comes. And after that, sleep -- and after that, packing, for the flight tomorrow.

Hope your Christmas was fine, too.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:57 PM |

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