December 25, 2015
Dear Martin, Pilar, Lucia, and Avram,
I’m so glad we all got to spend Christmas together. That Martin and Pilar were able to fight the jet lag for the whole seven days they were allowed to spend with us, that only Avram had a sniffle. (Montessori School, know that I am sticking pins in a play-dough model of your building each time my son comes home and sneezes in my face.) I cleaned. I washed. I cooked for two weeks solid to make sure that we had enough bread, cookies, and more to feed you all. Martin is eating for two or three at the moment, and has inspired Daddy to see how much he can hold, too. At least Martin helps with dishes.
We got an actual Christmas tree from Bragg Farm sugar shack, instead of the scrubby juniper tops we were using in Texas. I now have reason to think I’m allergic to Christmas trees. I made an honest-to-God centerpiece for our table and put up paper garlands in the windows. There were candles. There were twinkling lights and pine boughs. I pulled out the Christmas dishes that I had to buy because your Aunt Cathy gave Mom’s dishes to someone else. I made three kinds of cookies—chocolate ginger, molasses, and pizzelle—while you napped, because another second of “help” after decorating the tree, and I might have said things I’d regret someday.
We all went to the Unitarian Church on Christmas Eve and sang songs that had the lyrics slightly modified to be more inclusive. Is it possible that referring to the Christ child as “he” could bother anyone?
Afterwards, we had a feast for all comers. There were Jews, weary travelers, wild beasts, and new arrivals with a baby. The wine and nog flowed, the dinner was like a delicious brick in everyone’s stomach, and we packed up dessert to go as everyone filed out into the night promptly at 8:45 for small person bedtime. We checked out where Santa was on the NORAD Santa Tracker, and I convinced you that he wouldn’t bother if little bodies weren’t in bed by the time he left Antigua.
Santa came and filled up stockings with personalized, individually wrapped delights. He ate large bites out of each cookie and downed the tequila you left for him. He even located the black swan Odile ballet costume for Lucia’s new doll that she requested early in December. He didn’t forget, even when she did, and when he received her letter requesting something else. Santa is very grateful for Etsy.
As ever, I am in awe that my mom did this, joyfully, every year until we were well out of college.
And now that you are grown, you can know that I hate doing all these things. I would rather be reading a book in front of the fireplace while you all shovel the driveway. I do them for you, because I love the way you all laugh together and the looks on your faces when you open that special present. When you remember them someday, you can rest assured that I really, really love you all. Because only love would make three kinds of cookies.
Your loving mother,