Days 6 & 7 & 8: Christmas!

Christmas Eve was a lovely, relaxed day – knowing just one family was coming over for Christmas the next day took off a lot of the pressure to make things “perfect” (though this sort of begs the question – what about my older aunts’ and uncles’ presence requires perfection? Pretty sure they are not expecting it of us!). We usually (even in pre-pandemic times) try to avoid grocery shopping on Christmas Eve, but this year our shopping trip on the 23rd still left several critical holes to fill (the herbs for two of our favorite appetizers, most importantly – see photos below), so we found ourselves in the grocery store again on Christmas Eve. It was honestly not as bad as we expected, and we very efficiently got right through our list.

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Day 5: Missing out

So, yesterday was a lovely day in general – knowing that we only have to grocery shop and prep food for about half the usual number of people is sort of freeing, and my mother and I had a nice, relaxed time running errands and acquiring said groceries.

However, there was also briefly a random series of coincidences that resulted in a slim chance that the boyfriend could join us here in the US for the week after Christmas (a colleague whose plans changed generously offered to trade weeks off with him, and he found a good flight price). I, naturally, immediately start to dream and scheme: his first time in the US would be at Christmas, with all the decorations and lights – how fun! We could enjoy cozy times by the fireplace! I could… take him to New York to see it for the first time but mostly stay outside so as not to catch freaking omicron? (Okay, that probably wouldn’t actually have been the best idea. But we could have found other fun, mostly outdoor things to do!) And maybe we could have told my parents about the potential baby together. And discussed potential plans to get married. (Not going to lie, those last two were the part of this dream I was most attached to.)

But. It doesn’t honestly seem responsible for him to travel at the moment, covid-wise. My brother might not even join us so as not to endanger my parents. So it would be weird for the boyfriend to be there but not my actual brother. Flight prices swiftly went back up. And overall it just seemed like it was not the right time for this adventure. I was honestly kind of crushed. I had built up that whole fantasy in my head in a matter of hours (even though haven’t we learned by now not to fantasize about really anything, during covid?) and all of a sudden it was wrapped up in the other disappointments of the past few years: almost the entirety of the “new couple” phase with the boyfriend will have been spent in covid times; it’s looking less and less likely that we’ll be able to have even one exciting, adventurous trip before becoming parents; it’s not looking like I’ll get to introduce the boyfriend to my family before being already visibly pregnant and/or without introducing our offspring to them at the same time; I probably won’t get to have a wedding (not that I wanted a huge one – just a simple white dress and my closer family members and friends and some yummy food… even just in the back yard!) before being parents.

I know we are super lucky overall: I finally found the boyfriend after a verrrry long time thinking I’d never find anyone; we bought and moved into our new house that we love this year; we haven’t lost anyone dear to us to covid (fingers crossed it stays that way); and we finally got a positive pregnancy test after over a year of trying! But I think it’s possible to recognize all this good fortune and still mourn some of the things that will never be. And I always find my way back to the positives, really. So I think it’s okay to be sad about these things for a few days before bucking back up.

In other news, I did go to the library yesterday and procured the above stack of books – not by following internet/blog/social media recommendations, but by my old method of scanning through the new fiction shelves and just grabbing anything that took my fancy. (Except Still Life – heard about Louise Penny on several different podcasts and thought cozy Christmas might be just the time to try it – and the Liane Moriarty. That one is actually a capitulation of sorts: every time I see any of her books that I haven’t read, I think “I’ll just save that for the next relaxing beach vacation with my mom”… but between covid, grandmother health problems, and mother health problems, that has not happened since September 2018. So. I’m going to go ahead and indulge in one over the holidays.)

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Day 4: Feeling better

Feeling much better than yesterday. The family drama has faded at least somewhat. It looks like the aunts and uncles won’t be joining us for Christmas day, which is sad, but also kind of a relief, since they do have a higher risk profile. It also means that it’ll just be my immediate family and my cousin and his family (including their two kids, for added Christmas magic – yay!), so it’ll still be a good, cozy family Christmas, but potentially with less pressure. I am here for it, though I do hope I’ll still be able to see my aunts and uncles sometime soon.

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Day 3: Struggling

Things that were lovely about yesterday: we finished decorating the tree, and it looks lovely, if I say so myself. Ornaments that seem like good old childhood friends are all nestled into its piney-smelling branches, and the collection of Santa figurines and special Christmas candles is distributed along the mantle and around the living room.

My mother and I also got some Christmas shopping done, in a moderately efficient manner, despite both being rather out of practice at actually entering stores and choosing things to purchase, but what should have been a lovely mother-daughter afternoon was markedly overshadowed by the below Drama.

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Festivities: Day 1

Am I setting myself to try to post every day here? That seems quite ambitious, since I’ve mostly been averaging once a month so far. Also, “festivities” seems like poor word choice, since most of my happy holiday times involve things like reading in the comfy chair in my childhood bedroom and any festivities that we usually do partake in (usually Christmas day at our house with my aunts and uncles, cousin, and cousin’s children; and New Year’s day at my aunt and uncle’s house with the same group) are currently being cast into serious doubt by the threat of Omicron. But… why not? Worth a try, right?

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Christmas lights and cozy dinners

No matter how much I try to set myself up for maximum savoring of the holiday season, it always seems to slip through my fingers too quickly. This year, I tried hard not to crowd too much work into (moderate success), to wrap up lingering to-do list items before it started (mild success), and to make and enjoy a list of fun activities to try to capture the season, and while I think I succeeded at least to some extent in all of those things, I still feel like the time has flown by faster than I could hang onto. I am beginning to suspect there is no cure for this, no way that I will ever feel that I squeezed out every last drop that the season had to offer.

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