In my heart there's a Christmas tree farm
It's Saturday night and I'm home for once.
Our holiday party plans got cancelled so I'm at our dining room table with the lights low, sitting in silence broken by BJ's chatty MEOWS ringing up and down the stairs.
(I'm pretty sure he likes how they echo.)
I'm drinking tea but there's a bottle of wine in front of me that we were planning to take the party that I'm sure we'll crack sometime later tonight
probably when we dig into the dip I made
(also for the party)
and hopefully over a game or two of cribbage while records play in the background.
Earlier today John sat in the kitchen with me and helped "map out" all the cooking we're doing for Christmas Eve. My parents and brother are coming over next Saturday
which means I'm hosting my very first Christmas
and I'm cooking enough to feed an army.
Ham and cheese pinwheels
Potato wedge "nachos"
Baked ricotta dip
Plates of cheese, meat and pickles
and grebbles (from my Grandma's recipe).
I'll have bacon and rye bread for bacon sandwiches in Christmas Morning
(my dad's tradition for as long as I can remember)
and he's bringing a kielbasa from his favourite North End butcher to fry up late at night when we're full of wine and scotch and beer.
Everyone is sleeping over and we'll be spending Christmas morning here, at our house.
Opening gifts and drinking cup after cup of coffee
(or tea in my mom's case)
and I'll be sitting in the living room in my pyjamas
soaking it up.
There was a long time where I didn't think I'd celebrate Christmas with my family again.
The hurt felt too deep
the pain felt too raw
and I'd cry at least once over Christmas because I missed the feeling of "home" that had always felt so palpable during this time of year.
And sure, this Christmas hasn't been without its drama
and there have been times when I've felt like
throwing in the towel
calling it all off
and going on without my family this Christmas
but I'm glad I didn't.
I'm grateful to have this time with them
making memories in our home
filling them to the brim with food
and figuring things out