Another Merry Christmas Chaos

I should be writing something more substantial than this article, but I can’t quite get into the rest of what I want to do until I move this out of the way, so here it goes: It’s the Monday after Christmas and I don’t know how to proceed from here.

I should clean house–four days in a small house with a lot of people leaves quite the litter trail. But I kind of like the litter trail…I sit with my fourth cup of coffee and enjoy the quiet and the mess around me. There are still bows on the floor from Christmas morning, the dog’s dish is upside down under the backwards-facing chair, there are coats and throws draped everywhere and the tree is sitting atop the discarded Christmas stockings and various debris that couldn’t find another home.

I took pictures because it’s otherwise hard for you to fathom the mess. A right-thinking housekeeper would get up, dust, right the nativity set rearranged by small busy fingers, pick up the trash, load the dishwasher for the ninth time in two days and get things put back together in general. That’s what a right-thinking housekeeper would do.

As for me, I’m going to sit here and contemplate for a while. I want to remember what an outstanding Christmas this was. And it’s not for the presents or even for the season; it’s because there are only so many memories that we can make and this was a great time for making them.

I’m sitting here at the brand-new desk that I got for Christmas and it does make the greatest workspace in the world, but what is even more special about it is the fact that my husband (who doesn’t always) really listened to what I wanted for this Christmas instead of buying something practical that I needed. It’s more special because my daughter and her husband spent part of their Christmas Eve locked in the bedroom, setting everything up. It more special because both of my daughters created hand made items as part of the surprise and my grandsons painted a box and made a candle to go with it. It’s special because my son-in-law went to extra work and even lied (not something he does well) just to make sure the printer I wanted was there and ready to go.

The older I get, the more I understand that old chestnut that goes something like this: “It’s not the gifts you get, it’s the memories they contain.” I understand that now. It’s the shawl my daughter made me, that I had been hoping was for me. It’s the picture my son-in-law painted of my house, the way that I see it. It’s the wonderful cottonwood artwork my daughter did for me, because the cottonwoods are a tree tied up with my fondest childhood memories.

Even more than that, it’s the smiling face on my youngest grandson when Grandma showed up to get him out of bed; it’s the nine-year-old playing a wild game of war with his mother and his uncle or maybe the eleven-year-old slipping into the house for one last hug goodbye before traveling down the road. These are the things that can only be stored in the memories of my mind and for that, I need to take these moments of reflection afterward, to savor the sweetness.

My oldest grandson has a habit of doing the question, “What was your favorite part?” of anything. When he put that question to me about Christmas, I said, “Everything,” and he, an absolute young fellow, would not take that answer. “No, Grandma, what was the thing that was the best?”

I thought a minute and finally I said, “The memories that you gave me.” After a minute of deliberating, he replied, “Mine too, Grandma.”

So, it’s going to take a little while for me to get up and clear away the litter and debris of this wonderful, chaotic Christmas and I’m going to love every bow I uncover tucked in my shoe, or small plastic piece from a game, or the half-eaten piece of fudge, forgotten in the manger scene on the windowsill. And you know what? I’ll bet I’m not the only housekeeper who feels this way this Christmas! Happy memories to you all!

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