It’s boxing day. My girls are hanging out with their grandmother at the kitchen table next to me and they are learning about science topics including “hydrophilic” and “hydrophobic” molecules as they work with one of their awesome and geeky Christmas gifts. This is after they used their other kit to put beads and fluorescent highlights in each other’s hair. My dad is still in bed with some sore throat headache-y funk that has made its way through half of the family members who gathered here to be with us and all of our germs. My sister and my cousin have retreated to their respective bedrooms to “work” and the out of town family are enjoying the city sights before they leave tomorrow. I am happy to have an hour to write.
Christmas was everything I expected. I had moments of feeling a little overwhelmed and nervous that somehow seeing everyone again would be disappointing or maybe that I’d be disappointing, and then I got over that and remembered how much I love seeing the way that my cousins move through space and how they are with their children. I love how they are with their parents and how they are with me. I love that the kids are starting to get to know the cousins of their generation and maybe they will remember how it feels to be together as they see each other through the years. Dave was here. My sister made it home. My mom made amazing food all week long, my uncle peeled eggs with great care and my Aunt was behind the kitchen sink washing dishes for at least an hour after every meal so the rest of us felt cared for and well fed. We have had time to talk and catch up in meaningful ways.
It was also nothing I expected. Because how could it be with so many people and lives intersecting, and germs and craziness? This threw me off a little, as it does every year, but when I was all alone, locked in my room, this time, it didn’t feel stuck. I did some necessary regrouping, pranayama is a great go-to for that, and then I looked around at the room I was in, I noticed the temperature right in that moment, and the quality of light as it came through the windows. And when I went back into the house with all the people, I tried the same thing. What does it feel like to be close to this person I know and love? What are the colors of the food I’m about to eat? What’s the temperature? What’s the texture? What voices can I hear when I’m quiet and a little bit still? How does that feel? How can I be here and really listen to my girls when they sit on my lap to check in and do their own regrouping in the midst of all the chaos? This practice was so helpful.
Yoga didn’t solve all the challenges of Christmas, but the celebration was different for me this year. It was better. And sitting here, now, I can’t really figure out why or how exactly, except that love seemed to infuse all the chaos and the germs and the food and the time together. And when love is at the kitchen table while you streak hair or when you make a meal for 40 or when you visit with someone wonderful, then it’s a really special and beautiful day.