The Happies and Contents

January 1st, 2019

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This was a Christmas for the books. At 3 11/12ths, my daughters are the perfect age to fully embody the magic of Christmas with zero guile. We really went for it with the full-scale Santa propaganda. I took them to the Nutcracker, spent a day at Santa’s Land, and tried not to act shocked and dismayed when Phoebe told the roving “Santa” there that she wanted a “Mickey Mouse” for Christmas. (This is going to be a good lesson in disappointment for you, kid, because I’m not looking at some landfill-bound Mickey Mouse toy in my living room for the rest of the year.)

What Santa actually brought for Christmas was a simple wooden dollhouse and a pair of ice skates. But my daughters were mostly excited about the cheap wooden spinning tops and the thematic band-aids in their stockings. One recent morning, Eliza woke up to a nightmare that “Phoebe took all my band-aids!” and I had to rub her back for a while to get her to calm down. Phoebe, meanwhile, sullenly explained that she actually put some of the band-aids in the medicine cabinet for later. Twin problems.

My strongest memory of Christmas morning will probably be Phoebe, exasperated as she opened yet another gift, proclaiming: “I really hope this is not another book.” Who are you, child?!

I took a week off of work to spend extra time with my kids while they are on holiday break. This was a momentous decision for me, a workaholic freelancer who typically lives in a state of chronic anxiety about loosening the reins and potentially letting my entire business fall to hell. I hadn’t taken a week off over the holidays since college. But I wanted to make time to truly experience the joy/pain of winter break, and it has been a memory-maker.

  • We spent roughly the first half of every day in our pajamas.
  • We saw our first movie (Mary Poppins Returns).
  • We went for walks in the woods by our house.
  • We made do while the power was out.
  • We went ice skating.
  • And we had a good handful of one-on-one dates, something we never have enough time for in our normal life.

Now, it is New Year’s Eve. My husband is at work, my children are asleep and I am fielding texts from friends saying “Happy New Years!” on Paris time because no one in my orbit can stay up past the nines. I can, and I will, but alone, and I’ll spend my time cleaning the bathroom and tossing out old toys and clothes. That’s the virgo introvert’s dream New Years, because the goal is to wake up to a brand new year that’s clean, tidy, and arranged.


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