Today was about thinking of my sweet niece who is all the way in Wyoming as she celebrates her 5th birthday. It's difficult to believe that she's already five! I sent her a package with a few goodies from Chinatown that we picked up when we were in Boston last month. I hope she likes everything, and those little books were a riot--the syntax and word choice was simply too funny to pass up.
The rest of the day, though sunny and beautiful, was our coldest yet, this month, so we spent a good part of the day staying warm and cozy. I also finished hanging the kids' art from Yules of yore in the front hall.
Pulling each work out of the box floods me with memories of the Yules past. Adam's blobby, stick-armed Santas from when he was three, remind me that he used to also come downstairs, dressed in a pjs, bathrobe and Santa hat, carrying a large drawstring sack over his back, declaring, "Ho! Ho! Ho!" He'd then set about arranging chairs, stools and toys in the livingroom to make his sleigh. He loved being Santa and he took it all rather seriously, too. We would all be giggling at his cleverness and utter cuteness. Olivia and I were laughing today as I pulled one particular drawing out, as on it she had written her own name, but also the name of a friend in giant letters, across the middle of the drawing. Perhaps she thought the Nativity was rather unadorned without her and her friend's name floating there in the middle of the manger? She simply recalls wanting to practice her printing and spelling at age five. I think it's probably a combination of the two explanations.
As a nod to something my mother used to do, I arranged favorite cards from other Yules on one of our kitchen doors. In much the same way it feels to look at our childrens' art, I'm reminded of friends and family and the care they took to choose that special, card-size work of art for us. Most of all, in a few I can read entire messages from those we've lost, like my mother, and know that she wished us a happy Yule.
It's these little things that take a bit of extra time and effort during this very busy season, and I have to pause and consider, reflect and remember. But it simply wouldn't be Yule without them.