I was a little worried about when I would find the time to sit down and write my article for this week, given I haven’t really been “home” since I’ve been back from school on break for the holidays. Actually, I feel like I’ve been most everywhere else but home, in the comfort of my house, spending time with my family.
No worries though. With the blizzard that hit this morning, and the snowfall leading on well into the night, dropping 18 or more inches of snow around the island and even deeper snow drifts around the exterior of my house, it was safe to say that I wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while.
I will say that I first considered the snow an annoyance. I watched as my brothers and dad shoveled the driveway on three separate occasions, just for the wind to brush a fresh blanket of snow over the area they had just cleared. I watched the trees shake outside and transport the snow from their branches onto our window, sticking to the outside so I couldn’t see through it anymore. And I watched the snow continually fall, so heavily that the sky looked bright still even after the sun went down. Everything was buried—the house, the cars, the plants outside, pretty much every surface that could possibly be. I had nowhere to go and nothing to do. I didn’t like this.
With the second day of the blizzard rolling around, I decided to take my nervous energy and turn it into useful energy. So, here I am. Sitting. Writing. Thinking about the past few days and what I’ve done with them. And it was the first time that I took a while to just sit and relax and reflect back on the holidays—Christmas Eve and Christmas day—what I did, who I spent them with, etc. And I realized that I had a pretty good time.
I look forward to Christmas Eve more than Christmas day because of the smells all around the house when I first wake up in the morning. My mom spends majority of the day, as well as two days before it, feverously cooking and preparing our meal for the following day for Christmas dinner. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans and warm rolls are usual garnishes around the table, as well as homemade apple and pecan pies. But this Christmas Eve morning I woke up to the aroma of sizzling marinara sauce bubbling over the stove. This, I knew, was for tonight’s pasta dinner with the extended family.
I’ve been doing the same thing on Christmas Eve every year since I was a little girl—five o’clock mass at St. Ann’s Church, now known as Notre Dame de la Mer, then dinner with my mom’s side of the family. This year was the same, with the only slight difference being a variously themed Pollyanna between my cousins and me—this year’s theme being a Chinese Pollyanna. I spend the whole night with the family indulging in good food and drinks and conversations, and like I said, this year was the same.
When my brothers and I were younger, we’d wake up by six AM on Christmas morning. The thrill and excitement of knowing that presents were waiting to be unwrapped downstairs was overwhelming, and we’d drag ourselves out of bed at the crack of dawn to take full advantage of the opportunity. This year, we opened presents at three o’clock in the afternoon, followed by a sit down dinner directly after. This was out of the ordinary by previous Christmas ritual standards, but we gladly welcomed the new addition to the tradition. By seven, we were exhausted and retired early to bed.
That’s the thing about the holidays—you get wrapped up in preparing for them and making sure everything’s perfect and that everyone has a good time and everyone is satisfied and happy that sometimes you forget to live in the moment and enjoy them. It’s a rather exhausting process, really, and then before you know it, they’ve come and gone, and you’re left wondering where the time went. I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of doing this. That’s why the snow turned from an annoyance into a pleasure. Being stuck in the house forced me to take a step back and slow down and enjoy the people by whom I’m surrounded just in case I hadn’t over the holidays. It’s a good thing, too, because this snow’s going to last for a few more days…