Tuesday, December 31, 2013

above myself

Before a holiday even begins I am already compiling a list of things to do.  The list begins in my head and then gradually sneaks into my floral notebook, turning into a smattering of words in various colors of ink.  Soon that page is ripped from the notebook and copied carefully onto a new page.  As soon as I jolt awake and my eyes open on the day of the holiday I scramble for the notebook, flip to the current list and set out to cross off the items.  I feel as if I am taking the ropes that constrain my inner harmony, piece by piece, and lassoing my list, until it is firmly reigned in.  I then proceed to ferociously crumple it and toss it into the wastebasket.  I should probably admit that I do this on any day that I have off from the library and holidays are no exception. 

But yet holidays are an exception.  I still create the list and wake with the normal zest to tackle it.  But as the day creeps along the list is eventually abandoned. 

My family has always celebrated Christmas even though I was raised to believe in many Gods, the greatest being a healthy reverence for life.  I guess I view Jesus as just one of many sacred threads that comprise a hacky sack full of the abundant plastic beads of wonder.  Or something like this.  I change my views a little every day.

While we have always celebrated Christmas, my family hasn’t always put any particular God first on this day.  Christmas has always been about family.  And while I still firmly believe this I abandon it every year because of my to-do list.  Only at the very end of the day do I realize something is amiss.  Fortunately what I lose during the holiday is never far away and always ready when I get over my ding-dong foolishness. 

This year I woke up with my list, but before I could even get started on it Robert’s mom, Audrey called with an emergency.  Her roof was leaking.  We had just received about 3 inches of snow, and because it was warmish (a whopping 30 degrees) the snow was melting.  Audrey hadn’t cleaned her gutters in awhile and they had turned into solid blocks of ice and leaves.  It was decided that her gutters needed to be cleaned out immediately.  So Robert and I crawled onto the roof and got to work.  We hosed down the gutters with warm water and knocked the ice and leaves loose.  This took time, effort and humor.  Because we were up so high I could see most of our neighborhood.  There was something grand and singular about being on top of the world, watching loved ones arrive at the houses below – their excited yet careful walk to the back of the car as they threw open the doors and piled themselves high with glittering boxes.  One gentleman wearing a Santa hat opened the back door of his car and with a few bobbles of his Santa pompom, reached in and flung a sleepy toddler over his shoulder like she was nothing but a wisp of air dressed in jammys.  Another gentleman pulled a crock-pot and a tinfoil wrapped mystery from his trunk.  It was simply magical.  As Robert and I slid around on the icy roof and tried not to giggle ourselves to an early death it occurred to me that this year I wouldn’t have any regrets.  I had climbed above my to-do list, and more importantly, above myself. 

After the eerily peaceful gutter-cleaning excursion I was ready for a relaxing bath before spending the rest of the day playing cards with Robert and Audrey.  As I was slipping into the tub my mother facetimed me.  Robert threw me a shirt and my phone and left to secure some grub and tidy up before Audrey arrived.  Before I could tell my mom that I needed to get out of the tub she proceeded to pass around the phone to everyone at her Christmas party.  It was pointed out immediately that there were some underthings hanging behind me.  Of course there were because there is a rule that states that if you get facetimed in the tub it will be after you hang your brassieres up to dry.  No worries though, once everyone got to see me in the tub I was able to hang up, put some clothes on and call them back.  And what a delightful facetiming experience!  I watched them open packages and goof around, and for a moment I was there, completely consumed in their celebration.  As I said my goodbyes and shuffled back into Kansas in my fruity tooty socks and freshly- washed brassiere, I couldn’t help but hear the laughter trailing behind me, laughter that continued late into the evening. 

1 comment:

  1. Ahhhh You are so awesome. Maybe we need to meet... again in the bathroom.... only you will be fully clothed.