Much better than expected.
Christmas has so much weight to it: the weight of expectations, real or imagined memories, family, traditions, losses, hope. I've always liked the season, but I know better than to give my hopes free reign. This year was a definite gamble.
This year I won.
I somehow had enough time:
JB and I have spent Christmas Eve for 25 years with the same two friends. This year they brought the appetizers (oh my my: all kinds of fresh cheeses and quince jam and smoked mussels and of course crackers) and dessert. JB made feta shrimp and rice, guacamole, chili-cheese cornbread.
Our friends slept over. On Christmas morning two other friends joined us for brunch: date and nut bread, pumpkin bread, bagels, cappuccinos. They brought a pineapple filled with berries. They also brought gifts: homemade cinnamon bread, chocolate chip gingerbread, and one winter squash from their summer garden.
I have good friends. That is something I no longer and never take for granted.
And I have a partner who is dear and kind and sweet. She also gave me presents, including almost all of her stash money, with a note saying it is for the casino later in the week. Slot machines: wait for me--I'm coming!
At noon on Christmas day JB had dinner with my Mother at her rest home. All the food served there is family style and home cooked. Our Christmas menu included baked stuffed shrimp, green beans in mushroom sauce, mashed squash, cheese potatoes. We had no room for the turkey, mashed potatoes or stuffing. All of this served with condiments and eggnog and never a charge of any kind.
My Mother's rest home is an incredible place. There are 30 residents in all and without fail dignity and patience and companionship for every one there.
Later that afternoon, my daughter Jess, Mike, and their three boys and dog Sadie arrived, more presents. They stay the night so we are not rushed. Sometimes it is chaos. But not this year. We played, talked, colored, watched cartoons, ate meals, opened stockings and gifts from Santa, and watched our dog Chase, who has zero experience with children, run with the boys in the back yard; all of it and all of us so gleeful.
Dr Ryan cured all my complaints.
JB and I made our homemade raviolis and four dozen meatballs I made for my son-in-law. Jess and I made garlic bread. After the kids were in bed, we grownups opened our traditional stockings and gifts and it was all very wonderful.
We all played and relaxed.