And just like that all the things I had to do are done, everything is quiet. I have no commitments and time doesn’t matter as much as it did a week or so ago. I don’t feel that cathartic sense of overwhelming relief that I was expecting, just a bit of relief and quiet.
One of my favourite things about having nothing to do is the mornings, not the mornings after but the mornings where you didn’t go out the night before and don’t feel like there were things you shouldn’t have said or people you shouldn’t have kissed.
Mornings where everything is still and the world is a bit gray. These mornings are all about coffee in bed with books.
This christmas was the second one I’ve experienced in 25 years that I didn’t have to drive back and forth between southern Manitoba and Winnipeg. Every christmas for the first 23 years of my life were the same — christmas eve drive out to Morris, eat a dinner that had been meticulously prepared by my Grandma, so much so that it was all cooked a couple days before and reheated, fake sleep to avoid church and being made fun of by second cousins who saw me fall asleep during a Christmas eve sermon when I was still young but not young enough to make a mistake like that. Small towns never forget. Go to sleep wake up at the farm and open presents. Eat a wifesaver for breakfast and skate on the coulee. Ride snowmobiles from the 70s that only my uncle can get started across fields covered in snow. Get in the car, drive back to the city and eat more food with my mother’s side of the family. Kids in the living room adults in the dining room. Star wars plays on the television.
The farm was sold three years ago and now we bring my grandparents to the city. After they moved my grandma offered to put us up in the Stampede Inn so we could still have christmas at their new apartment but nobody wanted to sleep with that musty smell and synthetic too soft blanket on christmas.
So now it all happens at my parents place. I cook the turkey with help from my dad, my mom cooks the rest and family from both sides bring appetizers and dainties. There is always too much food.
It’s different but it’s nice.