The Advent season has begun, and this is my favorite time of the year. Our little family of four is big on rituals and festivals. This is a time of cozy fireside chats and rainy day board games, of starry evenings filled with music and lazy days of books, of intimate coffee dates with friends and parties into the wee hours of the morning, of sledding down snowy slopes and the making of homemade apple cider.
But this is also a time when the focus is inward. In the stillness of the house at midday when the children are in school, or in those early hours of the morning, when I’m the only one awake, this is the season when I peer into the deepest, most shadowy corners of my heart.
Wishing you all, my dear friends, a blessed Advent season. A time of joy, a time of peace, a time of love, a time of connecting to your true self, a time of allowing your light to shine into this dark and dreary world, a time for you to become the highest, best possible version of you. Happy Holidays!
I love lists. Oh yes! I do. Sometimes before I fall asleep, I make lists in my head. Of places I want to visit, things I want to accomplish, books I must read. Sometimes I make boring lists, about retirement and saving money and such. I don’t dwell long on those. And sometimes I make lists about the things I want to possess. Clothing, furniture, homes in 20 different places. But the possessions list is boring as well. Lately I’ve become sort of detached from the idea of excess, although at one time I’d rather have given up my right hand than separate myself from a walk-in closet.
In my current journal I have a few identical lists of my 100 favorite books, people, furniture, and clothes. The week of the rapture that didn’t happen, I dreamt that I was told that I must pack up my car with 100 of my *cannot live without* items and people. So I went to get a UHaul truck and started filling it up. But, for some reason, everything I put inside it ballooned up and there was no room for the people that I loved. Out came all the things I thought I couldn’t live without, and in went all my family and friends.
I love my life. It isn’t perfect, no, but I am content. And although I know it’s so cliche, the things that make me so, aren’t things. Not really. What completes my days, are the smiles of my darlings as they reach for me, all sleepy headed and heavy lidded in the early mornings hours. The chirping of the birds flitting from branch to branch outside my open window, beckoning me to rise from the softness of my bed and make the most out of the hour before everyone else is up; the books waiting to be read, impatiently threatening to spill out of the overflowing bookcases; the smell of coffee and of toast; my stash of emergency dark chocolate, hidden in a secret spot, high up on a shelf; the yellow roses scrambling up my patio’s trellis, competing with the green of the ivy; hubby surprising me with delicious treats when I least expect it; my ever-ready daily uniform of converse, dark jeans and fitted cashmere sweaters; treasured friends (see the photo) who support and encourage and never fail to check up on me whenever I pull a disappearing act; the smiles and the kindness of those who cross my path on a daily basis; and my faith, always present, always a comfort, a steady presence in my life.
I want to absorb all the delicious moments of my every day. Inhale them. Stretch out the minutes to last for hours. Remember them forever and ever, whatever life will bring. I watch the faces of my lovelies, those of my parents, of my siblings, of my friends. I try to etch the twinkle of their eyes into my mind, the wrinkles on their faces, the laugh lines on their cheeks, the perfection of their skin, the sound of their voices and of their laughter. Sometimes I feel desperate that I will forget something important, that a moment of eternity will pass me by and I’ll be looking the other way. So I stare harder and command my mind not to forget.
What about you, friends? What makes you content? What is on your happy list?
The photo above was taken this last Saturday at my friend Melania’s wedding (CONGRATULATIONS!), by my friend Teddy. Actually, it was taken by one of Teddy’s assistants because we wanted Teddy in the photo with us. Teddy is the one next to me in the white blouse and black slacks. She is an awesome photographer. When her website is up I will provide a link. Until then, keep an eye on her everyone!
I continually have to endure every brilliant pearl that falls from her daughter’s lips, every nuance, every sneeze. So many women fall into this trap and end up boring everyone to death with details that parents should keep to themselves. It’s almost as if parenthood sucks up every available brain cell and like the canary, whose brain cells regenerate every year, all previous data is erased forever and all you hear is this year’s song. Kaufman/Mack–Literacy and Longing in L.A.
I love this quote. It is funny and true and also sad. Once most of us become parents we forget about that intimacy created between friends through the sharing of our thoughts, and become good listeners only when it serves our purposes. When I make a new mommy friend, I put her through this test. I say something about my son or daughter and if she listens and asks questions I know she’s a keeper. If, instead, she cuts in and one-ups me, I listen politely and after a few banalities exchanged, I make my exit. I’ve realized something though, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make mommy friends who still separate their individual self from their mother self.
Soon after my son was born, a group of us newly wed mothers of infants (and one newly wed but not yet mother) got together one evening a week, rotating houses, eating and talking our way into the night about everything under the sun. We avoided talking about our babies, not because there was nothing to say, but rather because there was too much, and frankly we were sick of it. We also avoided inviting our husbands (but not the subject) although we did take a bunch of trips together with them, which were entertaining in their own way.
Others were often invited, but our best times were when it was just us five girls and our wailing babies. We learned a lot about each other and from each other. Our feelings were real, no false cheer allowed, no false sympathy. Disappointments, fears, desires that some of us would need an entire life to admit, were easily dispensed with, because we didn’t judge. We were eyewitnesses to each other’s existence. For some of us, it was the only outlet about the disillusions of life.
As the years passed a few other girls became permanent members. Kids have grown, some marriages dissolved, others have gotten stronger, but the purity of the friendships remains. We don’t get together as often as we used to, but when we do it feels like coming home.