Monday, December 19, 2005

Greetings from ChristmasLand

Ahhh. Back home. I am that anomaly of the academic world (and probably the wide world too): the person who not only has a civil relationship with his parents but actively gets along with them and looks forward to spending time at home, something I have blogged about before. Every year I end up being part of a conversation in early december with colleagues in which everyone but me shares their dread of the necessity of spending time with family, and relates their version of what I think of as the Christmas Calculus: threshold of time able to spend with parents multiplied number of divorces and remarriages divided by reasonable excuses for absence (children, other commitments, etc) plus distance necessary to travel minus savings on food and drink while being at home, all to the power of traumas, grudges and annoyances suffered during adolescence.

Seeing how bad I am at math, I'm doubly glad I've never had to do that calculation.

Mere hours after being home I was sitting by a fire with a single malt scotch and catching up with my parents. And then after dinner I wandered over to see my brother and sister-in-law, and, more importantly, my niece -- now almost five months old but grown well past that. A solid, and disturbingly strong (my finger, ouch) baby.

And then the next morning, the traditional cutting down of the Christmas tree at the tree farm we've been going to since before I was born.

There is a picture somewhere of me at the age of three, holding the very tip of the tree in an attempt to help my father drag it along. I'd say this was progress, except I was much cuter back then.

But speaking of cuteness, this year was the first year little Morgan joined us -- her first tree felling, which she experienced from the vantage of a Morgan-sized sled. She seemed a bit ambivalent about the experience, perhaps because she was bundled up so tightly that any movement was kind of impossible. She did like the movement of the sled over the snow, which we know because whenever the sled paused for more than a few seconds, wails would emerge from the depths of that baby-scented fleece. So when we stopped to actually cut down the tree, my sister-in-law Michelle was obliged to walk her in a slow, tight circle on the path to keep her happy.

Photos of the trimmed tree, and the shrine to the season that is my family home, to come.

But one more gratuitous niece picture before I go: the lion cub in winter, as it were.


Lesley said...

How cute is she!!!! That's adorable. While I'm one of those people who dreads Christmas, I'll give your family props for being one of those classic happy family that I always envy when I see them on tv or in movies. The kind that always has a good time, the kind that the members just can't wait to get home, the kind that those of us with dysfunctional families envy. But you got that already right? Can't wait to see holiday trimmings photos!

Loz said...

morgan is a doll, and you look pretty hearty luggin' that tree. say merry christmas to my thornhill family okay?