18 December 2011
Mid-December of Christmas past, we were still without a tree, and I was short on holiday cheer. I stirred from restless sleep on a morning much like this and spilled out thoughts that became our annual Christmas letter. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred or so minutes later, I sit fireside, wrapped in the same blanket and nestled in the same chair. Today my spirits are high, my well is full, our tree is trimmed and even some holiday shopping’s been done. This morning, my only companions are quiet, solitude, tea and time. I am poised and ready to write. And yet, as I consider the seasons, the months, the days, the hours, the minutes and even the heartbeats and breaths of the rich year of life that has been lived since last December, my thoughts are plenty, but the words are few. For the first time in eight Decembers, I don’t have much to say.
Paul, the kids and I are settling into our third year on Whidbey, and as such, the initial shock (and aftershock) has subsided. We are becoming invested and more firmly rooted in this rural island community. The Pacific Northwest continues to make its case (from the ferry yesterday, Paul and I saw a sea lion AND an aircraft carrier (!!!)), and it is leaving an impression (this morning, I chopped kindling and built a fire donning wool, fleece, fingerless gloves and dreadlocks (huh?!)).
Yes, 2011 has certainly brought its share of ups, downs, insides and outs, like most years do. We reached milestones, and then the next day came. Dreams came true; winds of change blew. Both memories and mistakes were made. We laughed. We cried. We worked. We played. We slowed way down, sped back up and saw much less of one another than we have in years past. The unthinkable occurred. It humbled, silenced and stilled. And in its wake remain gratitude, fortitude, love, possibility and friendship.
I’m speechless. So, in the hush of this December, I asked my family if they have anything to share.
In response, Maya (7.9) – tenderhearted, ever-jumping, old soul – shook her butterscotch ringlets and said, “No… may I have a snack?” Hmmm. Yoda-loving, leading man, Mr. Cole (6.5), beamed with bright eyes and dimples when he responded, “I like Legos®. Do you like Legos®?” Uh huh. And even Paul (37.2) stared blankly in response to my solicitation. “Huh…. What’d you say? What do you want me to say? Merry Christmas,” he replied, then smiled his sweet, steady smile and walked away. Sigh.
I think that sums it up.
A full and frenzied forty-three hundred minutes have passed since this letter began. My husband and children have retired for tonight, and I am back to thinking in my chair – wrapped in the blanket where I began. But early this morning, I was not alone. Rather, I sat with my family around the swing that hangs from a mighty tree just outside the house. I ran back and forth in the crisp and cool of this morning from swing to camera and back again. As we sat together, we didn’t say much, but we laughed a lot. We waited for the red light to stop flashing, and in the stillness that followed, we smiled.
This December, we are quietly suspended in the calm between heartbeats and breaths. Paul, the kids and I have so much for which and so many for whom we feel grateful. We’ll probably have more to say about it in 2012, but for now, we wish you peace… and snacks… and Legos®… and a Merry Christmas!
~ Paul, Abi, Maya and Cole
Posted by Abi T. at 11:53 PM