Monday, December 26, 2011

Perfect and Embarrassing

Yesterday, Christmas, was perfect. Things I hold near and dear to my heart were missing. Frivolous things like a large flat screen TV or car that runs were also missing under the tree. Well, okay, kind of difficult to fit a car under the tree anyway, so I'll let that one pass. It was perfect nonetheless.
Twenty years ago, perfect would have been defined for yesterday as a large home with 3 or 4 fresh faced children in matching red velvet dresses and dapper sweaters with curly hair and ribbons. It was also defined as a large house with a grand entrance and garlands of evergreen trailing down a stately staircase. It meant a large family gathering with twinkling crystal and a china pattern I'd picked out for my wedding.
Not one of those definitions of perfection have come to pass. And yet, yesterday was indeed perfect. Not everything went smoothly, I even had a bit of a tummy ache. My step dad sometimes says things that are hurtful or just plain obnoxious. But I love him. I didn't get to see my niece and nephew, and I missed them immensely. And, here's the really terrible awful confession that I argued with myself about sharing. I ran out of gas. On Christmas day. I run out of gas all the time. It is my one failing. If someone ever wants to show me love, fill up my gas tank; physically, take my car to the station and fill her up, and I will feel loved beyond measure. I don't need diamonds or a Mercedes. I need someone to pump my gas.  I did something I never do yesterday. I started my car, and then got distracted. I came into the house, stared into space, scratched my kitties, searched for my phone....ran out of gas. And, to top it off, was in denial. My car is on her last legs. She's been good to me. But she's tired. So, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that she threw in the towel. So, I called Mom in a panic. Meanwhile, I found a gas tank on the ranch, crossed my fingers it contained regular 'ol gas, and threw the dice. Ta da. Problem solved and I was off to Calistoga.
Please don't judge me.
So, why was yesterday so perfect? Because it was mine. It was yours too. Did you sense that, know that; it was your day?
There was nothing fancy about yesterday. My mom and step-dad are very modest. They live for their beautiful walking trails, fish ponds and random gardens they've created on their property. Inside is an afterthought, a place to eat and lay their weary heads. Mom prepared simple foods, but she did make my favorite jello. The one with cream cheese and cinnamon red hots melted in the jello. Yum. More than yum, I happen to know she searched high and low for those red hots; they are difficult to find! My step-dad and I bonded over Malcolm in the Middle. I like to see what makes him laugh.
We called my brother and talked to the kids. We took a walk. We exchanged gifts which is basically money hidden amidst bags of almonds or coffee; more practical things,and, always a Christmas ornament. Just to ensure my status as the spinster crazy cat lady, this year's was a cat. Thanks Mom! On that note, one of the girls in the family I work for gave me a gift on her own. It was a packet of cocktail napkins with, yes, cats, and a curled up kitty thing (?) that looks just like my devil cat that wakes their dogs and thereby their whole family at night. I love her to pieces for thinking of me!
We ended the evening watching "The Help". If you have not seen it put it on the list. I was so inspired. My step-dad could not understand why Mom and I would want to cry on Christmas day, or at all ever for that matter; but crying is a beautiful thing. It reveals the fact that I can be moved. And moved I was. Moved enough to not have one single pang of envy for those who have what I want, or think I want. Moved enough to want to do things in this world that have meaning. Moved enough that all I had was gratefulness for yesterday, and for all the things I do have in this life.
I think today is going to be perfect too.

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