let’s have a fairly hermitty Christmas and, apparently, never speak of it again

I’ve been honest with people when they ask me how my Christmas was this year:  “Not too great,” “Kind of lousy,” “Meh”.  That sort of thing.  You know, I realize more than ever there’s some kind of culturally-observed rule that ladies aren’t supposed to be honest when asked a question which truthfully would be answered by a less-than-sunshiney answer; about half the people who hear my response react with decidedly uncomfortable body language.  It’s not even like I’m reporting with much drama or any elaboration (because no one has yet asked why my Christmas was only asi-asi).  I guess for some people’s sake I’m just supposed to say, “Great!” enthusiastically and whip around, crouch down, and poop out rainbow-wind.

Gifts were modest but perfectly satisfactory amongst the Hogaboom foursome.  Friends and family provided a few more; my mother went all-out, possibly enacting a guilt-love offering since she was not in town for the Big Day but house- and cat-sitting in Portland.  We had a few dates with friends and I made good food and I was glad to be able to afford good groceries.  Our new house is comfortable and our health is good.

So you know, nothing major went wrong.  It just wasn’t that great.  I aspired to fewer gifts and I accomplished even less than before.  I was tired.  I had (and still have) a canker sore on the inside of my lip that really, really hurts like a sunovabitch.  We’re dog-sitting my mom’s dog and he’s devoted all his energy to ass-chewing and door-scratching.  Our dryer is broken and so loud it’s almost intolerable.  We are broke.  Not quite, water-getting-turned-off-and-checks-bouncing broke (BTDT though!), but, tight enough that my husband’s idea of a romantic and sweet gift was to offer to siphon gas from our waterlogged and out-of-commission car to the one that’s operable (and I am totally serious about this).

It helped me to accept some holiday doldrums when I remind myself that I can literally never remember a bad Christmas in my life before.  I’ve had really good Christmases for, at least inasmuch as I can remember, thirty-two in a row. That’s rather remarkable, but it took me until this year’s lackluster last few days for me to truly grasp this.

And our kids had a good Christmas, at least.  At midnight their pre-Christmas Crazies abruptly disappeared as they opened presents one at a time, expressed joy and gratitude, and said kind and loving things about the gifts and gift-givers.  It was really, really pleasant to spend that time with them. Ralph and I crashed about 1 AM and the kids stayed up and – all on their own – assembled their rather complex little Lego sets and then came and crawled into bed with us.

Good times.  Thanks, kiddos.