We have been relaxing the past few days. Sitting in pajamas, playing games, enjoying the light of the tree. I am savoring every moment of Christmas bliss. We have created an insular world of joy and peace and it feels good. I won't check emails, I won't think about work, I won't think about the countless tasks that I put off and planned to get done over the Christmas break. They don't seem so significant now. I won't think about sad. We are cocooning.
I remember after 9/11 having the same feeling. My family had rented a house down the shore at the end of September, not knowing how much we would need it. It was just before my brother's kidney transplant and we all needed to be together. I remember feeling so safe and insulated against what had happened and what was to come. Everything was happy there, the calm ocean, the quiet of a fall sun, and the lone squawk of seagulls no longer confused by the crowds of the beach, no longer drowned out by the sounds of the crowds. We spent the days looking forward without the full knowledge of the pain that was to come. It protected us and my brother too. When I was little, my mother used to say, "Just think about happy things." I think she even said it when I was in labor with my second child. "Just think about happy things." She was the world's best doula. I know she also said it to my brother on countless occassions. And she created those "happy things" for us all the time that we could use to look back on and hold us through the painful times. We all need those moments, those memories to carry us through. Keep Calm and Carry On, Keep a Hostful of Memories, and you will be able to Carry On.
In the midst of all this Christmas cocooning though, I did venture out - to BJs to pick up food I thought I needed. Obviously I hadn't looked in the refrigerator, because we didn't need anything of anything. I guess the habit I'd developed over the last month of planning, buying, and cooking dies hard and I bought way more than I should have. We had to plug in the other refrigerator when I got home. But in BJs my eye caught the cover of People, Shattered Lives, Broken Hearts. I felt my stomach lurch when I began to think about that. Then I quickly tried not to - think about it. Scarlett O'Hara said it best, "I can't think about that right now. I'll go crazy if I do. I'll think about that tomorrow." There is a lot of wisdom in her famous last words, and in my mother's too. We learn that sometimes thinking about it, whatever it is, is just too much. And thankfully we can put it off and think about Happy Things and think about it tomorrow.
Now you may expect me to say that we do have to think about and embrace it and deal with it, but I'm not going to. I really am not. I am going to keep on living in my Christmas dream world until someone shakes me and says, "Look, it's over. It's time to wake up. You can't do this anymore. Christmas is over." I'm not even going to clean the basement today or try to get a jump on my tax returns that I have to do or think about anything sad. I'll think about that tomorrow. Today I am soaking in all the Christmas spirit that is still floating in the air around here. A quote I read, "Christmas spirit in the air comes from Christmas spirit in the heart." The candles that are glowing with the scents of Christmas (Thank you, Aunt Barbara!) The tree with a few added new ornaments to remind us of our adventures this year. The kids walking around in new sweatshirts from Santa for the fourth day in a row. The toys that clutter every living walking-sitting-eating space in the house. The cards that I never really looked at when they arrived in the mail, so busy I was just trying to remember if I had sent the sender a card too. Now they hang properly displayed on the garland in the archway. As Annie just said, "I can't stop looking at these. I just love looking at them all!" That is part of the cocooning - the happy faces of people we love surrounding us and reminding us of all the wonderful friends we have. My husband wrapped in his own new blanket. Charlie hugging the red velvet pillow that says, JOY. (And of course, the joyful sounds of brothers who are so happy with their Christmas gifts that they can't bear to share the toys!) Then, there's my son the whistler. As long as I hear that I know we're all good.
That's what my brother used to say, "It's all good..." in his surfer's drawl. "Du-ude, it's all goo-ud!" We all have our own language for it: Scarlett said, "I'll think about that tomorrow." My mother said, "Just think about happy things." My brother, "It's all good." So I'm pretending it's all good and you know what, it's working. So I'm saying, "Keep Calm and Christmas On!"