It was difficult to go back today. In five extremely short days, or wait maybe they seemed long, I got into a rhythm, a jazzy upbeat. I slept when I wanted to. I ate when I wanted to. It felt incredibly selfish, safe as if I was enclosed in a nice little shell of me. We sorta did our thing, each allowing for the other's comfort without allowing for the other's level of comfort to discomfort us. And I think, for me, that is what family feels like. It is all cuddly and unconditional. You do what you need to do to be who you are and I do the same and never, not for one moment, do we lack in complete love.
That's a tall order, I think, but doable nonetheless.
Family feels like cooking, preparing a plate with ingredients from my parents. Shout out to the venison sausage with Corky's barbecue sauce. Thank you, Mom and Dad. It feels like laughter, stories, pacing, music, reading, writing and yeah, those little naps in between. Family feels like the hum of the heater, dusty wood floors, candlelight. It dances like music, moves into conversations with who now almost feels more like an old friend. We're at the cool spot, a time in our relationship when a story becomes a treasure as if it was what those pirates were always trying to steal in our childhood stories.
I will say I have become more grateful in this period. The smiles seem more precious, the laughter more melodic. It is a space containing dance and small flickering lights of flame. It is the crunch of leaves, the stillness after all the acorns have fallen. It is dark skies promising a cold rain where you have the excuse to stay in and stay warm. Might as well.
It is lazy and blankets, houseshoes and your favorite robe. The tap of that sole leaf on the window late at night. It is a new movie, a new story with your Dad. An afternoon of stories with your Mom. And you realize that you have friends who don't have one or the other or both so you enjoy them that much more. You whisper and smile and laugh and realize how fortunate you are.
It is warm coffee brewed better than you normally have it.
It is love and grace and giving and receiving although the receiving part is sometimes hard.
The thing is that I got some incredible gifts this year, that t-shirt with the artwork designed by Josh. Green in a nice, soft fabric, easily a favorite shirt. One I've already worn at least five times or five days. I don't know but it is great to have it on. Sarah got me a spot on her blog with my movie of the year. I do so hope she enjoys it. I got the coolest or should I say warmest socks in a bag so beautifully and artfully decorated by my Mom. And pants, nice LL Bean pants, cotton and comfy, and a pullover thick and warm. Both my parents threw some cash and some meat in my direction, one in a card and the other in a white plastic walmart bag that will stay in the family until it disintegrates, shuffled back and forth.
A rare photograph of Slater and me framed and put on a shelf with other precious pictures. Thank you, Nana. And the cash, it feels kinda guilty taking that from you but I tell myself it was a gift so I treat it as such. You're really too much for a Nana, more like an angel. It is the smell of the lotion Angie got me and the story with Granny. I'm so glad I have the story with Granny. It is Aunt Wanda and Uncle Buck and all the cousins, the fantastic cousins. It is laughter and Frank Sinatra.
It is a big bottle of whiskey given to me by Rusty and Rebecca.
It is the signs that Slater gave me to hang in the house, those that speak of love, peace and laughter. And a beautiful brown bowl I have already used to eat spaghetti out of. It is the perfect size. It is a spoon with a notch to fit on my saucepans so we don't have to put them on the stove. It is thoughtful and kind. Thank you, baby.
It is Wyatt and Jesse and Santa Claus.
Aunt Dottie and puppy chow.
Billy Sue's snoring.
Conversations with my brothers. Two invitations.
It is books given to you by a friend with whom you find you struggle which is strange 'cause they were so thoughtful and kind.
It is slow talks with your friends. A nap.
It is chocolate pie with a white cool whip topping.
It is sweet tea, no ice, and lounging.
It is the promise of a new year.
And today, when the pace changed, it was no worse or no better. It was the same but simply faster so I had to adjust my pace.
I call this morning coffee.