“I already had my Christmas up to Maryland with the fambly coupla weeks ago,” my neighbor Henk told me. “Today’s just another day.”
Even the most traditional family has trouble getting everyone together at holiday time. My daughter and her husband have just one set of in-laws and one set of out-laws but her mom is in North Puffin, I’m in South Puffin, her brother lives an hour away, his brothers are scattered across a couple of states and his folks live down in Vermont’s Banana Belt…
And today is Christmas.
“Save me, because they’re caroling in the meeting room next to my office,” Nancy texted to me on Friday.
It’s not just another day.
Oh, sure, there are carolers belting out Porky Pig tunes and Grandma is cowering under her bed if she knows what’s good for her. There’s nothing on television and I have no shopping to do. Cows are out of season, so I can’t fish. And the plumber’s going to charge you quadruple time and a half if you decide to install that new bathroom faucet today.
It’s not just another day because we build expectations of spending the holidays and holy days with our loved ones.
I’m dreaming of a Yuletide Nancy
Just like the one who had to go
When the earrings glisten,
and the red dress slips on,
Wearing her red hair in a bow…
I’m dreaming of a poly Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white.
I am, by choice, in the warmest, most comfortable spot in the lower 48. It is about 80° right now, with puffy cumulus clouds overhead, and a gentle breeze riffling the palm fronds. I shall swim in the Atlantic this afternoon.
Truth be told, I’d rather be with my sweetheart. Even if I had to shovel snow or climb mountains.
“I would like to be with you. I would also like to be with D#2,” Nancy said. “I would love it if I could be with both of you and there would be warmth and comfort and friendliness but, practically speaking, I reasonably presume there would be a tension born between the men, competitive and not being accustomed to one another.”
Drama. The polydays nightmare.
Yeah, there would be tension but a different dissidence than one might expect.
Remember Paul and Polly Dent, Evelyn and Owen McGregor, and Nicole Norris? I thought so. Heck, I have the score card and even I can’t tell who is doing what to whom in that household. Plenty of drama there, but theirs grows from the secrets they keep, not from their desire to be with each other.
I believe the competitiveness when A, B, C, D, E, F, N, and I try to coordinate our schedules comes because we must meter our time with one another rather than because we two mens might happen be in the same room with the wimmens.
In other words, people like the Dents, McGregors, and Nicole who are always in and out of each other’s houses (or house) have maybe more need for apartness than togetherness. People who see each other only part time yearn for togetherness. That means that some combination of Anne and Nancy, or D#2 and my son, or her daughter and I, we each wish for the time the other gets.
[It is worth noting some artistic license in the alphabet soup, above. I think we just included everyone who ever appeared in the blog as well as our families, friends, and lovers.]
“But, barring being with me, I wish Anne could have come down. Or the kids. Or your Aunt Dot. Or Rufus,” Nancy said.
Anne spent yesterday with the “Bs,” her other family (and a 25-pound rib roast, a turkey breast, and a Smithfield ham); she’s traveling to both ends of Vermont today for two more Christmases with the kids. Nancy is off to California to spend the day with her daughter. I’m holding down the palm trees with Henk who isn’t on anyone’s list. And we will all share the best we can.
Merry Christmas, Darling.