Saturday, November 29, 2014

Little Moments

Today it snowed.

It doesn't snow often where I live, and when it does, the whole city is touched by the magic of it.  Though this was hardly more than a dusting, we ran to the attic to pull out snow clothes and got outside as quickly as we could.  When I was a little girl, it would usually only snow at night when it was coldest, and on more than one occasion my mother would wake me up in the middle of the night, hurry me into my snow clothes, and we'd go out in the yard to make snow angels before going back to bed, dreaming of the possibility of a day off school.

Today had that kind of magic.

Katherine and I walked together - only a couple of blocks - to the place where we get our Christmas tree.  We picked out the biggest silver fir that we could find, agreed upon its perfection, and then each grabbed an end to walk home with it, singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

We even wore Santa hats.

My daughter likes my company.  She thinks I'm crazy, but she likes me too, and to share this kind of small memory with her just makes me feel filled 'til bursting.

Once the tree was in the stand, I made peppermint cocoa with extra whipped cream before we started decorating it.  A friend stopped in, and even Bryan stopped in to pick up Katherine, but we kept decorating, with pumpkin pie and cocoa for everyone, with Christmas carols on the stereo.

I have to record it here, because it was all a bit dreamy.

I could have done without Bryan's presence, of course; my friend pointed out (after he and Katherine left) that he aimed a hundred small arrows at me; he is not always kind to me, but smiles at me as he insults me.  I refuse to engage with him - it's enough to have divorced him, he knows what I think! - and focus my attention on Katherine instead.  She beamed to have her parents both there as she placed the angel on top of the tree, and I smiled to be able to give her that gift.

The tree is filled with memories: it is not a themed tree, would not suit a department store.  It is covered in a lifetime's worth of ornaments: the ones that I bought with my college roommate, the ones I have received from dear friends through the years, the ones that I've given Katherine, and the ones that she has made me.  There's one to mark the year we bought the house (the house that I bought again when we were divorced), and ones marked "Baby's First Christmas" and ones for each pet.  There's a small bear in a graduation cap marking when I got my master's degree, and one from my book club, and one in glass with a pink ribbon on it that is a reminder that I lived.  The angel on top isn't special but Katherine loves her and so I haven't replaced her with a sophisticated silver star more to my liking, but she's a sassy angel and her skirt rides up a bit and she tilts herself to face whichever way she chooses (no matter how carefully we place her), and I like that about her.  An angel with a mind of her own is my kind of angel.

Tonight I opened our Thanksgiving Gratitude Journal and looked back through the years at what was written.  I started it in 2007 - lifetimes ago! - and each year I ask everyone at my table to write their gratitude in it, and I write in it as well.  Reading years gone by made me ache, but no matter the heartaches - surgeries, near deaths, the demise of my marriage, all wrapped in "I'm glad to be alive" and "I'm grateful for my strength and for those who support me" - this year my heart is filled to bursting.

I have a thousand small moments.  A daughter who laughs with me, even when she's laughing at me. 

Today I walked through the snow with my daughter, and we sang together, and our hearts were light. I set up my tree, so ordinary, so beautiful.  I lit candles alone in the glow, and wrote this here.

That is all I need.  The smallest of moments, but it's bigger than anything I can imagine.

I will hold this for as long as I can.

Happy holidays, everyone.

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