Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The 48 Hour Marathon Begins

It's Wednesday morning, December 24th and the alarm went off at 6 am, just as it does every day. But today is different. Not just because the brat baby doesn't have school, so she's NOT the first thing I have to deal with. Bu because it is finally Christmas Eve and my Marathon run has begun.

It will be 48 hours of cleaning, cooking, entertaining and eating. Two days of family drama along with Christmas cookies and wrapping paper. Two days of 'go here, go there, do this, do that' and 'pass the wine.'

I have yet to watch my favorite Christmas movies on DVD or watch the most beautiful ice show I have even seen, "Winter Solstice on Ice." I'm hoping that I can watch it sometime tomorrow around midnight.

I haven't had time to call old friends and chat about my year and theirs. But I have had time to think about it. As joyous as Christmas is, there is always a degree of sadness to it. You can think of Christmases past and remember the loved ones you've lost. You can think of the happy times you had with young children who are now grown and only look at the designer labels and not the wrapping paper.

There will be no Cookies for Santa this year on the fireplace to be eaten by the dog. No surprise on Christmas morning to see what Santa left. At fourteen, those days are long gone, replaced with "PLEASE tell me you got me an Ed Hardy t-shirt." and "Why did you get me that? I can't wear that! Brooke has the same one!"

Ah yes... the sounds of Christmas.

But the Christmas music on the radio still makes me cry when I'm driving, because it makes me think. Snoopy's Christmas makes me cry because I can only think of when I was six years-old and our family was large, poor and all alive. Christmas Eve was all the Aunts and Uncles in one house and all the cousins in the basement. The women would be in the kitchen making home made pasta and the men in the dining room playing cards and smoking cigars.

At 10 pm, the youngest Uncle would dress as Santa and bring toys in for all the cousins, no matter how old they were. The night was always topped off with espresso, chestnuts and those hard little honey balls that I can't spell in Italian.

"No more lives torn apart, and wars would never start. And time would heal all hearts. And everyone would have a friend, And right would always win, and Love would never end. This is my grown-up Christmas wish."

That one is my favorite. The Amy Grant classic that puts it all out on the table and sends me straight for the Kleenex. *(Note: I forgot one! The one song that embodies exactly how the season feels to me. Trans Siberan Orchestra's Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24. If that doesn't make you want to run screaming from the mall, nothing will!)

I am grateful for the friends I have made this year, they are a blessing. I am pained for the friends I have lost this year through natural causes or sheer arrogance and stupidity. Friendship is an important part of life, and my life is rich in that aspect. I am lucky.

So to all my friends and family, Merry Christmas. Enjoy your next 48 hours of non-stop Christmas and I'll see you all on Friday. They call it "Boxing Day." I call it "The day I get to relax."
Merry Christmas Islanders Country!

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