So Christmas has marked another year, and it was yet another good one! My most wonderful BFF and husband extraordinaire was absent from the day time celebrations this year on Christmas Eve and Christmas day because he’s one of the good ones, and he was helping his patients in the hospital. We knew that working in an ICU would mean nights, weekends and some holidays, because for some reason life-threatening illnesses don’t ever seem to take any time off (weird, right?) and we both have been on board with that from the beginning. This was one of those holidays, and I sought consolation in knowing that if ever someone I loved had to be in the hospital over a major holiday, or any day of the week for that matter, I would feel so grateful to the men and women that gave up time with their family to help tend to mine. And I do feel that way, really and truly. That being said, everything in my life is that much better when Drew is there, and Christmas is no exception. So while we had a fantastic day ridiculously rife with abundance and good cheer to boot, unlike years past, the best moment of Christmas day was not the excited rush to the living room in the morning, or the clasping of hands before our good meal, but it was the snowy hug at the end of the day as Drew made it home safely and we were able to wish each other a merry Christmas in person. I love that guy, I really do.
Knowing that we were taking a different approach to the holidays, Drew and I were very very very lucky and thankful to be able to accept a gift of dinner and a night away on the 23rd at a nearby B&B, The Clifton Inn. My parents kindly kept Asher for most of the day and over night, and Drew and I spent the afternoon at the movies with an ungodly amount of sushi nestled between us (sorry if any of you work for Regal Cinemas, but we promise that we were very neat). We saw the newest Cohen Bros movie, True Grit, which left us with plenty to talk about after. From there we dashed off to the Clifton where we were greeted with a surprise announcement of an upgrade to a sublime suite. This of course was cause for celebration, so we ordered martinis to sip on and read out loud to each other from our favorite Christmas book, Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris. From there we were treated to a heavenly meal with too many course options to list, but let’s just say that it all began with homemade pork belly ravioli and ended over a gorgeous cheese plate and some chocolate mousse that left me speechless. Drew tiptoed out in the wee hours to slip off to the hospital, and I woke up later to croissants, the Washington Post, and visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. It was all, in a word, divine.
With a full belly and a rested mind, I bustled out to my Mom’s with homemade peppermint ice cream and last minute gifts in tow (while listening to this fabulous broadcast about A Christmas Carol on the radio program, On Point) and from there we settled into our favorite annual routine of prepping food for the next day, listening to an endless stream of Christmas carols, and sipping on a little champagne. My sister Shelle and her family arrived that afternoon and we had a really delicious and luxrious Christmas Eve meal with family friends at their bed and breakfast, Fallen Oak. Fast forward to Christmas night, Drew’s blustery return (we did get a white Christmas in these parts) piles of wrapping paper and big smiles all around, and all Drew and I could do was whisper to one another, “we dwell in abundance” as we collapsed into bed and fell asleep listening to the sweet sounds of Asher’s sleeping body in the crib next to us.
Drew’s absence provided me, us, with an essential perspective in this holiday season of indulgence, and that is, every day is Christmas around here. We are (mostly) excited about the promise of every day, we always seem to have gifts waiting for us in one way or another, and Drew is always quick to say how thankful he is for our health, a very real statement of gratitude from a man who deeply understands what loosing one’s health can actually mean. For a weekend that was marked with beautiful, thoughtful and really fun gifts, with an endless stream of rich and filling food, with twinkling lights, glowing candles, and that precious sound of a child sucking in air in delight as he sees what’s under the wrapping paper, with laughing and clinking silverware and glasses, and with the feeling of loving and being loved, it seems that we might be pushing our luck a little to say that we needed to be physically together to appreciate it any more. Drew’s work in the hospital is a near daily meditation on what really matters in this world, and you combine that with the abundance and glow of this special time of year, and I am left wondering how we will ever offer an adequate thanks for all that we have. But I will keep trying, and I will try here too: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.