The Christmas season seems to congeal all of the good in the world in its bright lights and traditions for us to collect and hold in our shared memory. It is satisfying to pause and reflect on the big picture of our lives at Christmas. Otherwise, we would do a lot of things without really any point. That is what I tell myself anyway, as I carpool to somewhere while Mike works out of town somewhere else and the kids stay up too late scrambling to practice this and earn that and finish those.
Jayson seems immune from it all. I wish he would feel at least a twinge of urgency to learn more letters beyond the ones in his first name. For now he doesn’t see any point. Chasing the pretty girls at recess is his only reason to find his other shoe and get to kindergarten every day. I venture to ask what he would do if he caught one just to see him smile and don’t dare ask out loud what will happen when they chase back.
Jake is working on his second generation of chickens. They are dull and dim witted and can easily be caught with the fishing net. The eggs rarely make it all the way to the fridge. The scorpion, however, is fat and sassy on daily offerings from Jake’s pockets. He came into our house surreptitiously after a trip to the desert last spring. Mike found an escape proof container in the nick of time. The internet is sure this kind is the single most poisonous that North America can produce. I can’t even stand to watch Jake pull wasps out of his pockets at feeding time, but the boys all like the whole drama. Mike and I try not to stifle his creativity while ensuring our collective health and welfare.
Mitch is in the throes of eighth grade. He reads books about magicians with swords. I wonder why a magician who is really any good would need a sword. He plays soccer everywhere and all the time. I routinely find the glass shrouds in my lights have been broken and wonder why we can’t just play soccer outside. He enjoys his outside scout experiences even though his dad tags along, but he most loves all things electronic. I am grateful for earphones. He is figuring how to make all his grades be the same letter.
Syd is ready to move past high school and onto the next platform. She had a good time with the Junior Miss pageant, until she realized the whole thing happened in front of an audience. She has grades figured out and worked the ACT over and likes her sister’s college dorm. I try not to burden her with domesticities and younger brothers to the point where she no longer wants to start her own family. Mike has no such restraint; he wants all the desserts he can get before she leaves. He reminds me of the family voting patterns when she is gone. I’m not ready to be the only female at home.
Every weekend we hope Ash has scheduled some time for us. She is entering her junior year at BYU. So far she has successfully avoided the entanglements of a major or husband. Between work and school she doesn’t have a lot of inclination for more than friends and a great sister and has proven herself to be a sound decision maker.
Every day I am grateful when my old vehicle fires up and gets us all where we need to go and back home again. I spend a lot of energy on primary and fridge stocking and grass stain removing. Mike has spent much of his time this year working in various small towns around the west that he suspects are regular repositories for the witness protection program. He missed the garden and even claimed to miss yard care. Mostly though, he missed me and us.
With all of the perplexities of nations and uncertainties about our future swirling through my mind, I am so glad for the foundation on which our lives are built. Christmas is a part of that foundation and the warmth and light that are the constants of this season contrast sharply against the cold realities abounding in the world. We hope this finds you protected in the warmth of holiday tradition and brightened by hope for tomorrow and spring and rebirth.
4 years ago