There is always stress during the holidays its one of those things that just can't be avoided if you have chosen not to be a social recluse. There were those people at work who insisted on giving me holiday gifts after I asked them, please please please DON'T!
Christmas Eve brought the children's Christmas Eve service. Alex always performs in it. I am always roped into doing something at the last minute. This year Alex danced with her fellow dancers and read the prayer of confession. I was a shepard wrangler. Alex did well and the shepards behaved well. The only fight they had broke out when we were in the annex behind the choir loft and not in full view of the congregation. Yes, I had my boys under control with lots of tick-tack-toe and coloring sheets while one of the angles was downing lamp oil for reasons I still don't understand. By second grade, you should be able to count on a girl to notice when something says "DON'T DRINK". But I guess not. Oh well. Her mother was in charge of the angels so I became the shepard/angel wrangler while the daughter was rushed out the room and poison control was called.
Christmas Day was just a blur of relatives and houses. One of the draw backs to living in the same city as all of your relatives is there really is no escaping them. They all want to see you and not each other. My day was spent leap frogging across the Greater Houston area from Katy to Manville and points of interest in between.
And then the day after. I cleaned and organized. Once that was over. Once I had cleaned and fused until there was nothing left to clean or fuse at, I sat. That was my favorite Christmas moment. That two hours I spent just sitting there on my couch. Radio tuned to Prairie Home Companion that was running a collection of old shows. I sat and listened to bits of Christmases past while I sewed a stuffed dolphin for Alex and listened to her laughing with her friend in the next room. Its a present I promised her for Christmas but didn't finish on time. Now it was far to late to worry about getting it done and it was a simple exercise in peaceful wonder. There is something about the methodical nature of hand stitching that is quite marvelous to behold and impossible to explain. The work is slow and boring, but when its done, with any luck, you have created something. Out of old pants and a pillow case a whole new creature is born. I treasure these moments of solitude. When I have spent my last $2 on milk that is sitting in the fridge and I have no where else to be but home with nothing else to do but sit. There is a since of peace that can't be found any other way.