Dec 24, 2008

Christmas Eve and all is well

A snowy midnight hottub, five hours of morning snow play followed by another deep nap is all deeply restorative. Today the neighbours and us built a 7-foot-high archway over the luge course, all from snow (no cheating with wood supports like someone unmentionable suggested). No hurries, no agenda, just play and creativity. The kids did what kids do best - laugh, explore, invent, and try without boundaries. It was them who suggested dragging the 100-lb balls with the sled. It was them who figured out a system of steps to get the upper snowballs in place. What better learning environment could we have created - architecture, physics, gross motor development, Greek and Roman history, weather, melting/freezing, teamwork.

Sarah and the kids are right now whipping up some Christmas Eve dessert surprise, then we'll
- finish sewing new stockings (can't find the old ones after the move),
- open one present each (a tradition that Sarah and i started during our first Christmas together in Zambia 10 years ago - I gave her feather pillows to replace the hard foam beasts I'd used for 5 bachelor years in Africa),
- make Sarah's family traditional "monkey bread" - gooey bread balls soaked in butter, sugar and cinnamon
- open the last advent calendar treasures, and read a few bedtime Christmas stories.
- present creation (toolboxes for the boys) and wrapping (with African cloth, no disposable paper and tape allowed), and maybe a letter from Santa

Growing up, Christmas Eve was my favourite day of the year. A raucous party with the Swedish cousins, huge smorgassboard, presents galore, out-of-tune carols, laughter, family. I will at some point tonight feel a bit sad at missing that ongoing (albeit smaller and more sober) tradition, but these quiet new traditions with my own family are equally rich and beautiful. And the bigger community are fully a part of this season - last weekend's Vancouver visits, the Boxing Day open house, snowplay with the neighbours, 2-day beachside cabin with my mom and brother, New Years visit from close family friends. Balance of extended family and nuclear family, balance of fun and sacred, balance of community and family. From such an off-balance day as yesterday, this is as refreshing as the snowball-size snow showers from the trees shaking their limbs.

Oh oh, i've been beckoned. have a marvelous Christmas friends.

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