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Christmas without Kids

Actually, it’s not so bad.  Though it is certainly odd to wake up alone on Christmas for the first time in…well, ever, in my life, I suppose.  Yes, now that I think about it, that’s true.  My Christmases have been varied (with my mother/stepfather/siblings, or my father/stepmother/siblings, or even with a boyfriend, one year, in Sarajevo, of all places) but they have never been solitary.

The children and I had our Christmas yesterday–it was a stripped down ritual, minus stockings and other traditions dear to my heart.  However, it was quite fun, and they were charmingly gracious and sweet.  I made what has become our standard Christmas morning breakfast–french toast made with eggnog, a recipe I invented, and sausages, and orange juice mixed with seltzer–and we opened presents under the tree.  At lunchtime I delivered them to their father’s house, wished my mother-in-law and her husband Merry Christmas, tucked my presents for them and for my ex-husband under his tree, and came home.  My boyfriend was here yesterday, which was nice, though we were both somewhat preoccupied with the logistics of our holiday plans–we are, as usual, juggling people and places and obligations.  He’s back at his house a hundred miles away with his children and parents today, and later on I’ll wander across the yard to my best friend’s house to be with her children and parents and gigantic assorted family.  I’ve got cooking to do.  I’ve still got a few things to wrap.  I’ve got phone calls to make.  I don’t feel sad, or abandoned, per se–I just feel a mite hollow, as if the day were an empty (but well-decked) hall, too big for just me, its sole inhabitant.

Still, the tree is pretty, I’ve got the paper, a stack of new books, a nice cup of tea, and a fire–which feels decadent, just for me, but which I decided to build anyway.  My children were happy and cheerful when we spoke on the phone.  They’re only three blocks away, but it might as well be another planet.

Merry Christmas everyone, wherever you are–buried under wrapping paper, trying to cook in an overcrowded kitchen, coping with toddlers and babies and too many dogs, overseeing elderly relatives, housebound, on your way somewhere, waiting for guests to come, making up extra beds, traipsing through snow, eating, drinking, dozing, playing with brand new toys–I wish you all peace, and joy, and the best of whatever you desire in the year to come.

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