This is my sixth winter living in A World Without and, this year, I am trying (yet) another approach. This is the Year of Full-On Celebration. The tree has been up for weeks. Not only are there lights strung on the front porch, there's a fully-lit tree there, too. Sparkly, multi-colored lights twinkling from dusk til dawn.
Inside, there's a festive string, à la Donna Reed, bedecked with cards from near and far. I sent cards this year, and - so far - I'm running about a 55% return rate. (Which isn't bad when you take into account my 5-year hiatus.) I count all the cards received up to New Years Day, so it's looking pretty good, even if certain people have de-listed me. (You know who you are.)
I even shopped. Not excessively, not with abandon, but with a certain measure of the joy and trepidation of past years. Will he like it? Oh, she'll love this! And I chose a wrapping theme (silver foil papers with green and blue and white ribbons and bows) that Himself promptly corrupted with a gold foil box tied 'round with a deep red ribbon. (Mens!) I am fairly certain there's yummy chocolate from our newly opened neighborhood chocolatier in that box, so I am going to overlook it. (I am also going to move it before the official Picture of the Tree - 2010 is taken. But then I'm going to put it back.)
There's a lot to celebrate this year. My Girl's Nana (also known as my dearest MIL) has come to live with us. While the reasons for it are not particularly celebratory, it's a joy and comfort to have her under our roof. There have been babies and rumors of babies. A wedding. Many plans for the future. There's been new sadness as well, fresh grief to lay over the the too-fresh grief that already blankets our world. In short, life keeps happening.
Which brings us here, to the Winter Solstice. The moon hung full and bright in the not-quite-dark sky as I drove home from work Monday evening. And as I twisted and turned along the marsh's edge I could hear Britt's voice, clear as a bell. 'We're going to build a fire, Maija, and dance around it while the moon rises! Winter's death knell...just as it begins, it begins to end. That's an excellent reason for a party, I think!'
So do I, Baby Girl. So do I.