Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Just Another Day

While my family was sending unlawful amounts of Christmas deliciousness through their digestive systems, I was sitting at my desk at work wondering what the weather is like outside on this Christmas day.
It is not uncommon for people to work on holidays, but, for some reason, it felt like I was the one with the lump of coal in my stocking, far removed from any pumpkin pie access.
I wish I could say that my work was very important, that I was saving lives, maintaining world peace, or navigating Santa's sleigh through the stormy sky. In reality, my work is mind-numbingly boring, one of those where changing your name to "Hey" doesn't seem like that bad of an idea after a while.
I was not able to pinpoint exactly what upset me about missing that day with my family. The rational part of my brain kept telling me that this had been agreed upon long ago, that we'd still celebrate Christmas except on a different day, that I didn't have to do any cooking or cleaning up, and would enjoy my leftover plate when I got home. I kept telling myself that it was just another day, labeled extraordinary by big corporations with big advertising budgets.
I grew up in a Russian Orthodox family, therefore Christmas was always celebrated by the old calendar, on January 7th. Not only that, it didn't have a whole lot of similarities with Christmas that I celebrate now with my mostly Catholic family. While there of course was midnight (well, actually all-night) mass, and plenty of family around, Christmas was mostly about quiet family time and reflections on the year that had gone by.

Joseph making Christmas cookies with a friend

Presents were opened for New Year's as a symbol of good luck and prosperity in the coming year, and so by Christmas they were long forgotten and everyone had a chance settle back into their regular, much lower in sugar content, routine. It was traditional to visit your godparents, and take some food over, and sing carols.
Christmas on this side of the planet seems to be more about ham and tinsel, and yet somehow I found myself longing to share this day with my husband and son.
When I came home that night, my Christmas plate was patiently awaiting under celebratory Christmas foil, as was a pile of presents, and greetings from everyone I had missed that day. Joseph was sound asleep, dreaming presumably of sugar plums, as all children should on Christmas.
Just another day passed. I had believed it meant little to me, yet in the end it left me hopeful that next year, come December 25th, I will be there indulging in sugar, tearing apart wrapping paper, and watching my son build castles out of packaging.

Hope you had wonderful Christmas. And Happy Coming New Year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

This story was supposed to be about something different, but then look what happened.

Everything else can wait now, there is snow in the world, after all!
It is not surprising that Christmas is celebrated this time of year. There are few things on this planet as awe-inspiring weather-wise as snow, and therefore, it's perfect for Christmas. Every season is, of course, beautiful, but the change is always gradual, from bare, to green, to yellow; it takes weeks or even months for change to mature and manifest itself.
When it comes to snow, however, it's different. Of course, one can usually feel it coming, and not just because the weather service told you so. There is calmness all around, as if the world is bracing to prepare, both up in the sky, and down below, for the grand show. The air is translucent and crisp, the night sky is starry-less and covered in white, as if a big bag of snow is stretched over our heads, dangerously full, about to tear, and spill its heavy load of weightless snowflakes.

My fondest childhood memories are of snowy days and everything they entailed. The snowball fights, the sleigh rides, making snow angels until your clothes are so wet, you have to change your underwear, too. The favorite part? Hands down trying to catch the snowflakes with your mouth... and watching others do so.

What's yours?

Friday, December 10, 2010

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Perfect Pair

It isn't the size of the gift that matters,
but the size of the heart that gives it.

When I was little, I had a lot of things that were hand made by my family members. My grandmother was an excellent seamstress, and growing up, I had a closet full of clothes made by her for my sister and me. My mother didn't inherit her mother's outstanding sewing talent, but she still sewed things for us once in a while. She is also very good at knitting. I vividly remember this one year when extra money was scarce in our home she knitted a pair of gloves for my birthday. The fingers were all of different colors, and they had flowers on the back of the hands, and I wore them until unsightly wholes appeared on the tips of the fingers.
This year, when we went to visit grandma, my mom, with Joseph, she presented him with a pair of socks. A special pair of socks, made just for him by her. They may not be the prettiest socks around, but they were made of sturdy wool to keep his little feetsies warm on cold winter days.

She knitted the left sock anticipating our visit, missing him, wishing October got there faster, longing to hold him, kiss him, and spoil him rotten. She knitted the right sock, just to make sure she guessed the size correctly, while we were there, in between her attempts to fit a year's worth of hugs and kisses into the month of our stay. Every thread in this pair is laced with her love, her thoughts and dreams, her hopes for him.

Joseph and his grandma

Joseph doesn't yet care about what he wears. I could put a pair of ziplock bags on his feet, and he probably wouldn't even notice. I do hope, however, that through the years, as more and more homemade gifts fall into his little hands, he will learn that the best and most precious gifts rarely come in a shiny box accompanied with a gift receipt, they are wrapped in love and tied with thoughtfulness.

Are you making any special gifts this year?