December 26, 2011

So That Is That.

"Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes— 
Some have got broken—and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week

Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted—quite unsuccessfully— 
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly underestimated our powers. Once again

As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long."
—from "Christmas Oratio" by W.H. Auden 

I was hunting down "The Gift of the Magi" to reread yesterday when I came across this poem in Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book (which I love, love, love). I thought it was nice, even if it doesn't fit our sentiments to a T. We're not exactly sad about putting the decorations away. Actually, the compulsive de-clutterer in me gets a high from packing away all the holiday ephemera and putting it back into our musty basement. First thing this morning our living room was emptied of the Christmas tree and restored to its former self. Nekos is happy about this, too, as the tree was blocking access to half of his record collection.

Christmas this year was really, truly lovely. We did Christmas Eve at my mom's house in Kingston Springs with spaghetti, friends and everyone's new favorite board game, Wits & Wagers. (My mom, by the way, gave me a gorgeous, working typewriter from the 1920s for Christmas—very much worthy of its own post one day soon.) And Christmas Day we lazed around until it was time to go to my cousin Kathy's house in Brentwood for shrimp and steaks and catching up. 

And, this kid? She had a good time, too. Unwrapped her presents on her own and could even be coaxed into saying "thank you" for them, which is tops in my book.

Mostly, Nekos and I just got a kick out of watching her play with her new things and having her along to bring us the greatest holiday cheer we've known since we were kids ourselves. Speaking of that and of Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book, my mom reminded me that she'd taped all of my Santa photos from over the years inside the inner and outer covers of that well-thumbed book. I found this of me in 1984 at Tessa's age. Though I hesitate to say that parenting is the be-all and end-all in most regards (because, c'mon, now: were our lives really so terrible before we had children?), I can say with certainty that Christmas is better when there's a toddler involved. Long lines for Santa? No problem. Loud, troublesome toys? Still no big deal. It's all worth it to see a little girl smile. 

Nevertheless, it always comes as a relief when the holidays are over. Big sigh. We made it, y'all.