I have today off, which delights me immensely. I came out to my parents' house yesterday, had dinner with them, hung out a bit by the fire, and then Betty got my bed all ready and I tucked myself in.
It's funny, coming home for Christmas. I don't live that far away, and I see my parents most weekends. I even spend the night here sometimes.
But home for Christmas means a little more tucking in, a little more spoiling. A little more do you know how much I love you?
I got up early this morning and wandered out in my PJs - Betty calls them prison pajamas, because they are black and white striped - and picked up the papers from the driveway. I know the neighbors in my parents' suburban neighborhood. It's an old neighborhood; I believe the houses were built in the post-war 40's. Most of the houses are still very similar and quite modest, although here and there you see one being replaced by a McMansion.
But anyway, the houses are close enough together that you know and see your neighbors. And they've seen me mince out the door in purple fuzzy slippers before, so prison pajamas faze nobody.
But that's a tangent. I came back in the warm house, chilly, damp plastic-covered papers in hand. When you walk into the kitchen, straight ahead of you is the door to the garage. Betty covered the entire door in cork board some years ago. And so what you see is a door of love.
It's covered, top to almost bottom in photos. There are myriad pictures: of family; of my brother and his wife and son; of me holding our old dog Gloria; of photos sent by family friends - proud grandparents of new babies just born; of friends on their travels, or who posed for photos while passing through town. There are photos of friends who have since passed away.
You want to know who we love? We wear it on our door.
There are some forever photos on there - Gloria and I, for example, are there to stay. If I'd know it at the time, I'd have put on makeup before the photo. But anyway.
There are also seasonal ones that get rotated and updated.
We have a family friend who, in Swedish tradition, always had her two blonde daughters pose with candle wreaths on their heads for the Christmas card. We got a Christmas photo of these two beautiful girls in the same pose, year after year. And then they hit high school and one Christmas missive announced the last year they were willing to pose in this manner. They were on our door, candles on head, for the very last time.
My brother and I have never met either of them, but my brother said he was sorry about the last of the cards. As he put it, "I feel like I've grown up with them. I'm going to miss them."
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I wish you peace, happiness, safety, and people you love and people who love you nearby. I suppose I wish that for you and for us always, no matter what day it is.
Big hugs to all.