Yes, it’s December which means Christmas trees, snow, Santa Claus, and surprises — all wonderful things as far as we’re concerned. Interestingly, we’re not finding the snow to be particularly bothersome. In fact, after a surprisingly deep snowfall the other day (the forecast was for less than an inch, we got ten times that) one of our neighbors hollered out from their car as they passed — “Missing Costa Rica?” And we found we really weren’t.
We actually had our first snow (definitely a surprise!) more than a month ago — the planned blog post that never happened (the story of my life, it seems) was titled “Fall Back = Snow Fall” since it did, indeed, snow on 2 November, the day we went off daylight savings time. And we’ve had several other snowfalls since then, but each was gone within the day, with sunshine and blue skies returning to keep things cheery.
Now that December has arrived, the snow feels a little more permanent. Oddly enough, after Monday’s snow turning into much more of a storm than expected, there were warnings galore about the “big storm” due today, but although it started snowing right on time this morning, so far it’s only been little flakes that aren’t amounting to much, so sounds like they maybe just got their systems reversed! We’ll see how things look tomorrow.
We bought our Christmas tree a week ago (on a warm sunny day!) and are very pleased. It’s incredibly fresh, was reasonably priced, and looks great in the house. We flip-flopped our living and dining rooms in early November to accommodate birthday parties, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and the tree, so rather than having to crane around the tree to watch TV (always an important consideration), we can enjoy it in its spacious surroundings. We’re almost tempted to keep the room exchange, although I imagine by the time the holidays are over we’ll be ready to move it back.
Avila is old enough this year — at just over 2-1/2 — to really be enjoying all things Christmas. She had a great time picking out Christmas trees, including a small one for her room at home.
And she oh-so-carefully helped decorate ours, earnestly threading the hooks on and handing the glass ones to me saying, “This one is very delicate, Grandma. You should hang it up high.”
She got to visit with Santa today and was apparently quite happy doing so. (She gave him a big hug first, before settling in on his lap!) And she seems as interested in wrapping presents for other people as she is in getting them herself. (I’ll be surprised if that lasts, but so far, so good.) We haven’t yet started in on the Grinch marathon, although that’s probably coming soon. I’m referring, of course, to the original Grinch TV show from 1966, which she became absolutely obsessed with last year. Luckily it’s always been one of my favorite holiday specials, so it wasn’t too painful to have to watch over and over again!
Of course, all the hubbub of December and the holidays also means that another year is coming to a close. And that’s a surprise, of course, since it seems that it only just began! And yet we look back on a full year — beginnings, endings, the astonishing process of watching the daily changes in our sweet little one… a lot has happened this year. Much to appreciate, and much to look forward to next year.
And as a final surprise (“final” for this post, that is) Nelson Mandela died yesterday. His actual passing was not really a surprise — I mean, the man was 95 years old and we all knew had struggled with some major health issues over this past year.
The surprise was that I started crying when I heard.
I would not have ever considered myself to have any particularly deep connection with Mandela — I, of course, have always had the deepest respect for him and what he accomplished in his lifetime, but I wouldn’t have said that it was an especially personal experience or relationship. So I was surprised by my response.
I actually had to go hide in the bathroom for a few minutes. Since David knows me as possibly one of the least politically-involved people on the planet, I feared he might think I’d lost my marbles.
I think it just shows that sometimes, even below the surface, below our conscious recognition, there is some part of us that cannot help but be touched by someone like Mandela. Touched in a way that experiences a visceral sense of the loss to the world. May we all remember him as a symbol of courage and dignity that should offer inspiration to us all.