As Christmas was barely looming on the horizon, I was hoping to write something meaningful and contemplative and perhaps even a little profound and kept waiting for the Muse to strike. And now it is the night before the night before Christmas and the Muse appears not to be in a striking mood. So it goes…
In the last few years I’ve found myself struggling with feelings of sadness as Christmas approaches, but it hasn’t been so bad this year.
The thing I am remembering now as I reflect on the last Christmas we spent with our boy, who was in the nursing home with only a few weeks yet to live, was that he had made a gallant effort to get a Christmas present together for us earlier in the month, before his condition deteriorated so badly. I was so touched by that: he was not just thinking about himself and what was happening to him.
Well, it is hard not to think about what was happening that Christmas and hard not to remember past Christmases with my mom and my wonderful aunts who have died – and why should I not remember those things – but what me helped so much this this year is that we were able to get the focus off of ourselves a bit and were able to do something for someone else who needed help. It felt very good to have been blessed enough that we could do that.
And another thing keeping me from wallowing in the bog as the day approaches is that must get my house in order.
Yes! I must. The house is a wreck, and I have lots to clean and dust.
We normally have a quiet Christmas at home by ourselves, but this year I learned that our friend Judy was going to be alone this Christmas and I invited her for dinner. This will be the second Christmas for her since her husband died, and I am so glad she accepted our invitation.
Nigella Lawson gave an interview on National Public Radio some years ago that I never forgot. She said
Sometimes if you cook in a complicated way, your tension translates to your guests. They'll have a much better time having chili and baked potatoes than they would if you did roast duck with a wild cherry sauce and then had to lie down and cry for a while.
I am always -- always -- nervous about cooking for other people, so I am fixing something I have fixed hundreds of times before (well, okay, not 100s—but often) and it always turns out tasting wonderful and so I don’t have to worry about that. And even if the house isn’t perfect, that’s okay too.