Hard to believe, but this morning, after an exhausting but wonderful Xmas day, I was at the Y at 9 for Carole’s Boxing Day bootcamp. It’s now 1 p.m. and I’m done for the day.
A busy time. Xmas Eve, went to the Riverdale Farm Babe in the Barn pageant that Mary Martin and I started — or revived — twenty years ago, back after a three-year Covid hiatus. It’s absurdly hokey and yet, singing those grand old carols, I cry every time. This year’s baby was especially beautiful.
And then to Mary and Malcolm’s for their annual post-Babe gathering by the fire. I thank the heavens again for my fine generous neighbours.
Once upon a time, my Christmasses were so fraught, it’s hard to imagine now. Two small children with huge expectations of what awaited under the tree; many guests for dinner, including often my parents and even my in-laws from B.C.; and on top of it all, I spent Xmas Eve producing and directing the pageant, with its cast of local volunteers and its various problems — lack of sound equipment and lighting, late arrivals of the cast, bad weather etc. And yet, somehow, it all got done.
This year, Xmas morning, just had to stuff the bird and make sure all was ready for the tsunami, which arrived early afternoon, to the usual flurry of unwrapping. This year we swore to keep it all simple and minimal, and we did, and yet … Soccer jerseys were a special hit, leading to much soccer tearing apart the living-room. Mbappé and Messi shooting and scoring! But where is the adorable David Beckham?
And then dinner, with our special treat, the presence of both Thomas, Eli’s dad, and Matt, Ben’s dad, chatting amiably together. Both fathers treat both boys as their own, which is a glory to see, all of it a tribute to Anna who somehow engineered this familial miracle. Thomas brought his Xmas baking, four different kinds of rich treats. We feasted.
Among the candles on the table is a memorial yahrzeit candle that burns on a loved one’s day of death; while the candle burns, the spirit of the departed is with you. My mother died eleven years ago at 3 a.m. on Dec. 25 2012. She was with us.
And in the middle of all this, one of the best gifts ever: I discovered Midlife Solo is on the list of Ben McNally Books’ top ten bestsellers for November. Imagine, my book and the word ‘bestseller’ in the same sentence — and with the marvellous Roz Chast! It’s only there because the book launch was in November and sold a lot of books, but still, for now, it’s there.
And two new five-star reviews on Goodreads.
Today, extraordinarily mild though damp and grey, my job is to finish the cleanup and make turkey soup. And watch the end of The Crown and maybe something else. Look at the cat sleep and the birds at the feeder, and count my blessings.
I am counting counting counting my blessings.