Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tapping the Microphone

It's my first day back at work today after the magical two weeks that are Christmas break when you work for an institution of higher learning and Christmas and New Years fall on certain days of the week (blah-calendaring decisions-blah-wasted days between holiday and weekend-blah-blah). I arrived back at my desk to find an e-mail from a faculty friend who asked me to speak about blogging in her media writing class. Of course I answered with the obvious:

"Blogging? What's that?"

I know! I'm sorry. This is the longest stretch I've gone without posting in this space since, well, ever. Apparently I was tired of talking about myself, which I realize is a concept almost too odd to comprehend. But the break was lovely.

Empty nest holidays are different from full nest holidays in that the full nest is not only filled with children, it is also filled with Traditions.

I do not use that uppercase "T" lightly. I am the Queen of Traditions, and have pretty much made it my life's mission to see that if we have made the holidays cheery and bright by doing something one year, we will do that exact same thing every single year until we have forgotten why we did it in the first place.

In fact, somewhere around the house I have a picture of my parents' house on Christmas morning the year Husband and I got married. In the blurry print I am sitting on the next-to-the-top step with my sleepy-looking new husband next to me, right in front of Much Older Sister and her husband. My imperious right index finger is pointing to the spot in front of me where Much Younger Sister is to plop her behind so that our younger brothers can sit in front of her, and we can dash the stairs to see if Santa arrived. That was the Tradition when I was growing up, and never mind that I was 29 years old at the time.

Fast forward another half lifetime, and I understand why my sainted mother rolled her eyes just a tetch when I was proclaiming that if we didn't do everything just right Christmas would be RUINED.

This was the year for Boy#1 and Lovely Girl to spend Christmas with her parents, and all of the Boys have jobs. These are better-than-good things, things I could never complain about, except that it pretty much meant our Christmas Traditions turned all loosey-goosey. No filling of stockings after Christmas Eve church, no watching "A Christmas Story" while I kneaded rolls for Christmas dinner, no shopping for half-price wrapping paper the day after since we still had wrapped presents under the tree.

But you know what? It was great. There was so much laughter, so many hugs, so much (delayed) food, so much sleep, so much deep satisfaction at being together that it didn't matter a bit that on Christmas morning we slept in then went to the city for a movie.

Only one thing didn't change--the Dueling Santas still played "Joy to the World" in tempos that were just a tiny hair of beat off from each other.

Oh, and it was still lovely. Just a traditional old-fashioned Christmas.

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