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Been there, done that.

Of course it’s overload. Christmas is exhausting and fraught at the best of times, let alone that I am commemorating the second anniversary of my mother’s death this day. So – some tears, especially when Johann Sebastian Bach was on the radio. I burned a candle for Mum all day and went in the afternoon to the Necropolis, where we scattered her and Dad’s ashes last Christmas day. Said hello to them. I heard that they’re very proud of their grandchildren and great-grandson. I knew they would be.

A wonderful Christmas despite its fraughtness. (Is that a word? Well, it is now.) The young man slept late, giving the grown-ups a chance for a quiet cup of coffee and talk – a great moment, as this rarely happens these days, with their busy schedules and social lives. For a brief moment, they both put down their phones and we chatted.

My favourite gifts were the original oil painting I got from Eli – showing a mature abstract style and sense of colour; the Paul McCartney tribute CD (of course) – and from my son, both for me and his sister, a pair of diamond stud earrings. I kid you not. And for me, a box of handmade chocolate truffles as well. He loves us.

Mr. Eli liked all his toys – Thomas the Tank Engine is a beautifully designed toy that he played with for hours, attaching and taking apart the various bits and watching it go round and round on its track. My gift to him, besides books, was a Playmobil firetruck that has to be assembled, and it defeated us – it stayed in the box until Eli’s dad can put it together.

Wayson and Carol had breakfast with us – my brother’s smoked salmon with bagels and cream cheese – and we spent all afternoon preparing the feast. After our dear friend Holly arrived, we sat down to an enormous meal, everything was delicious, and then it was over. We cleaned up, we did our best to wear out the boy who does not stop, and they went home. And now I want to put every bit of Christmas away and get on with life.

Anna and Eli slept in the spare room, and last night before sleep, Anna said, “You know Santa is coming tomorrow with his elves and his presents.” And Eli said, “Me not want elfs. Me want Santa and presents.”

All right, no goddamn elfs allowed around here.

Last Florida shot. A distant dream.

Back to reality – this morning. That’s the tree I found lying on the sidewalk. This is the before shot.

After.

He got great books, including “Baby Bear” and “Sam and Dave dig a hole.”

Clean-up.

I hope your day was fraught in the best way too – with memory and emotion and closeness and love.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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