Driving around, I've noticed that outdoor Christmas lights have lost their shine, though they still drain the same wattage. Perhaps the anticipation is gone. We still have our tree up, and I'll let that Fraser fir go until the needles begin dropping like a winter coat in April. Our menorahs are gathering dust, but I'm not ready to put them away either. Anything that means light is welcome during these cold days.
In the days before Hanukah Jared came down with a bad cold that lingered through new year's and then morphed into sinusitis. He laid on the couch like in a way he hasn't in years. I barely held the house together, motivating us from family function to family function.
Moving from place to place with lots of desserts and presents made for a wild month. "I didn't get enough presents!" Beren exclaimed one evening. I searched for celebratory holiday things to do. Most things had a shopping element or involved standing in the rain or possibly parallel parking our huge truck with a four year old strapped in the back. I gave up. Keeping our basic rhythms seemed more practical than teaching some likely abstract meaning of not just one, but two holidays.
Then, Jared's grandmother died on Christmas day.
Beren dove into a bad case of the croup as soon as Jared recovered. He coughed and wheezed. I bundled him in blankets and stood on the porch with the December rain all around us. In the moist, cool air the cough abated. I opened the door to our warm, dry house and back came the cough. We canceled a few engagements.
The day Beren started getting sick, we brought home a kitten. The kitten was contentious. It knocked down Beren's blocks. It scratched, "No!" either Jared or I would say. We coached Beren on how to hold a kitten - a kitten is very different than the calm, cool adult cats that Beren has adored. Beren found it all infuriating, disruptive and disturbing. So did his parents. It's taken about 10 days, but we're all getting used to each other.
So, let the light shine longer just a little longer as we get back to our rhythms.