We’ll Cocoon for Christmas

“Mom, please tell Santa, not a lot of presents–just a few presents.”

Who among parents of neurotypical persons has ever had their progeny ask for fewer presents?

Now, I know there are those rare, beautiful spirits out there who seem innately born to give back, and who forego the wanton greedfest that Charlie Brown has lamented for over 50 years–the kids who ask to go help serve food at the homeless shelter, or sort donated clothing for the victims of the tornadoes. Kids like that stop me in my tracks, and make me want to do better.

Angelic Daughter has been overwhelmed by the excesses of Christmas since she was a toddler, but I never really reined it in until Mike’s last few Christmases, when we really needed to emphasize the “peace on Earth” aspect of the holiday.

This is another one of those years when “peace on Earth” seems in terribly short supply, shoved back by crushing disappointment, animosity, blame, and sheer exhaustion.

Angelic Daughter had a series of heartbreaking disappointments this past week, when a friend she was looking forward to seeing over the holiday couldn’t come home, another friend simply said she didn’t have time, and I cancelled the downtown excursion she’d been anticipating for months, because of Omicron.

She sighed big sighs, and repeated, “that’s OK, maybe next time” over and over again until she found some sort of acceptance. It’s tough to see an Angel try to be a good sport, when all the seasonal joy she had been hoping for evaporated in a day.

So, we hunkered down and tried to make the best of it. Prayed for friends who were ill, or families that suffered loss and disappointment themselves. We relied on texts and phone calls with family. We made cookies, and once again I wrestled the cookie press to a draw:

The stars on the left look OK, but I’m not sure what those blobs on the right were supposed to be.

The roll-out ones turned out OK, I guess…

Santa did what he was asked, and left just a few presents, which entertained through a morning of simple appetizers until a modest Christmas feast of roast chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and salad filled us up, with just enough leftovers for one more plate today. Of this year’s buche de noel log cake, the best that can be said is that it tasted OK.

We kept a fire burning in the fireplace until I couldn’t bring myself to split more logs, because of the absurdly loud “tang, tang” noise the sledgehammer made on the wedge, echoing off the neighbor’s house across the street. Note to self: take care of the log splitting before Christmas Eve next year.

The remains of a huge branch that came down in the latest windstorm (2 in the past 6 months, as opposed to 1 in the twenty years before that) are waiting for me to finish cutting them up. My company has generously offered “holiday hours” for next week, so I might be able to get it done after my “early release” tomorrow, between rain showers, in the afternoon, along with splitting a few more logs.

There’s no bright side to this latest surge in the virus, other than it appears to cause milder disease, at least in the vaccinated. I want to believe that the mass of mutations on this sucker are a desperate move of a virus running out of options, trying to quickly infect as many people as it can, replicating itself in a massive, dying gasp, to then evaporate, because it’s got nowhere else to go.

Unless, of course, it uses the unvaccinated, who either don’t have access to vaccines yet, or who have voluntarily offered themselves up as human petri dishes through stubborn refusal to avail themselves of the science God gave us the brains to understand, for the virus to mutate some more, into whatever nasty next form it may take.

I’ll choose my “dying gasp” theory, because that’s what I need to hang on to at this point.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

-Emily Dickinson

Maybe joy is too much to expect this year, and peace seems out of reach, but “that’s ok, maybe next time” — chin up and wishing you hope, and an open hospital bed if you should need one, I remain,

Your reined in, subdued, dialed-back, deputy elf,


One thought on “We’ll Cocoon for Christmas

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