Curled up in my office, enjoying my second cup of coffee. The rain is still coming down outside and it’s chilly. Not freezing but that raw sort of cold that goes straight to your bones.
Everyone I know is packing clothes into suitcases, suitcases into cars. Or swarming on the grocery store in a mad dash for potatoes and stuffing cubes and vegetables and table settings and things that haven’t even crossed my mind this year.
Because I’m not doing those things.
This morning, my husband braved the rain and the crowds to go to Whole Foods. He picked up our pre-made meal. “Perfect for a couple with small children” the short marketing blurb read. And even though I know the tricks, those things still work. We saw ourselves in that sentence. And now a pre-cooked turkey with all the sides we’d want sits in our fridge and waits for tomorrow.
This afternoon, we will venture out to pick out our tree. Tomorrow, we’ll wake up and be lazy. We’ll welcome the return of the sun. We’ll watch the parade on TV. We’ll bake dessert and maybe start on our Christmas cookies. And we’ll transform our house into a home for the holidays. Lights and tinsel and greenery everywhere. And we’ll make more coffee and perhaps some chai. And we’ll read and play. Just us four. Just here.
And it sounds so lovely and simple doesn’t it?
And it will be.
And, of course, it also won’t be. There will be tears and tantrums because those happen these days. There will probably be a broken ornament, maybe two, because that happens too. There will be a bit of cabin fever because escaping into the car to the nearest open place is often how we survive the long days with small children. But most places won’t be open and I will not support those that are tomorrow.
But still, it will be lovely. And simple. And quiet.
We’ve craved simple and quiet this year. Craved it. At every turn, if given the choice, we chose simple. And quiet. Because so much of the rest of the year was anything but. And so when the decision of what to do for Thanksgiving this year, for Christmas, came around, we decided to stay home. And we didn’t plan far enough in advance, so we’ll host no guests either.
And, in part, I’m content with that. Content to be simple and quiet. To hibernate here and have plenty more moments like we did on Sunday morning. To not pressure ourselves with cooking an elaborate meal while keeping hawk-eyes on a little boy who is so close to walking but also crawling and climbing and finding clear and present danger around every turn. To own creating lovely memories and embracing the holiday season while outsourcing the food prep that is just plain hard for us right now.
But also, in part, my heart is reaching out for last year. When we welcomed family. Every room in our house full. So much love and celebration and I wrapped myself up in it for days. I will miss that this year.
I’m grateful that these holidays come around every year. And they don’t have to be the same from one year to the next. The variety is ok. The traditions are still there. It’s still a celebration. That maybe next year, we won’t so deeply crave quiet and simple. And so next year we, too, might pack clothes into suitcases and suitcases into cars. Or make mad dashes for potatoes and table settings. Next year.
In the meantime, this year we are settling in for a Thanksgiving is perfect for a couple with small children.