Monday, December 28, 2009

Finding the Best in Four Christmases

I had four Christmases this year. Considering I wasn't expecting to have one (or at least to enjoy one), this was certainly promising. Most important, of course, was that I realized how fortunate I am for the family and friends I have in my life.

So, my four Christmases ...

1. Christmas Eve at my Dad's House.
We always have Christmas Eve at my dad's house. Before he and my mom were divorced, we went to my grandparents' house (my dad's parents) for Christmas Eve. That side of the family has just always owned Christmas Eve. We got to hang out with my dad, stepmother, and my half-sister and half-brother. My dad is a Christmas maniac (there are Christmas decorations up at his house all year long), but as you can imagine, he really goes all out for the big day. There was music and food and family and all those nice Christmas feelings. The only negative was I learned that my dad is having surgery, and I am of course very worried. The surgery is tomorrow, so hopefully that goes well. My dad is a well-intentioned, intelligent, humorous, kind man, and he has certainly changed the world for the better.

2. Christmas Morning at my Mom's House.
Ah, another tradition--Christmas brunch at my mom's house. Addie, Belle, and I were already here, of course, and my sister Mary, brother-in-law (I can't remember the name I've given him on this blog, so I'm renaming him: it's Harrison), and their six-month-old son Eddie were here as well. We woke up, did stockings, then waited for my brother Adam and his eight-month-old baby, Pete, to arrive. At that point, we did presents and ate brunch and just in general hung out. Mary, Harrison, and Eddie left for a three hour drive to Connecticut to be with Harrison's family (they're coming back on Wednesday and will be here until Sunday), then Pete got very fussy (he's teething), so I made a Walgreen's run for Infant Tylenol. It was very low-key. It was the oddest, quietest, most depressing Christmas my family has ever had ... and I'm not even sure why.

3. Dinner at a Chinese Restaurant with Pythagorus.
Yes, I'm serious. Frankly, I'm just glad that Pythagorus wanted to see Belle on Christmas since she would have been devestated if he'd blown her off. Addie didn't come, by the way, since she adamantly refuses to see Pythagorus--this is of course her prerogative, but I don't want anyone to be like, "What about your other child?" Since he is not comfortable at my mom's house and I am not welcome at his family's house--er, his family's trailer--because they are a bunch of Jerry Springer-esque whack jobs who somehow feel that Pythagorus' severe drinking problem is my fault and that, now that he has returned to the bosom of his family, he will be just fine as long as he never sees me--and, by proxy, Belle--again (I swear, I will write a book about that family one day. I will have to call it fiction, though, because nobody would believe the ugly, tawdry, trashy truths). Anyway, we ate Chinese food and opened presents and laughed about how awkward it was. The good thing is, we all laughed--we were on the same wavelength, which doesn't always happen. To me, that was the best Christmas present Pythagorus could have given me.

4. Playdate at Andy's.
Since I had to bring Pythagorus home (an hour and twenty minute venture), Andy asked if Belle and I wanted to stop in at his house afterwards (his house is about a quarter of the way home for me after I drop Pythagorus off) since his little girl Dawn wanted to have a playdate (and possibly a sleepover) with Belle. We did end up staying over at Andy's, although that was not my initial plan (fortunately I brought my toothbrush--I'm resourceful like that ;)). The girls had a ball playing games, creating "haunted houses" in Dawn's room, and telling silly jokes to each other. Andy and I watched a couple of movies (if you haven't seen Meet the Fockers, you must ... it is freaking hysterical!) and played cards. He'd made Bailey's Irish Cream fudge, and it was freaking amazing, and also heated up spiced nuts; all of that was far better than popcorn. Anyway, it was a peaceful, fun night that reminded me that friendship is just as valuable as family.

So yeah, that was my Christmas in a nutshell. It was a very simple and laid-back event. I've decided, I'm either going to cut loose for New Years Eve and walk around a big city with underwear on my head drinking from communal bottles of champagne (yes, that's an inside joke) or I'm going to sit at home with my mother and the girls and watch the ball drop on television.

Or maybe I'll find some kind of happy medium ... the way things went this Christmas, I'm starting to think that happy mediums are the way to go : )