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Reflections on the Month Gone By

January 15, 2014 2 comments

It’s finally over – Christmas, New Year’s, celebration, stress, lights, the tree. Even those last random needles are off the floor. It’s good. I am enjoying this unusually cold January that, surprisingly, doesn’t feel desolate at all, only beautifully, delightfully, comfortably calm.

Now, this is how everything started way back, maybe even before Thanksgiving: Look at that – decorated Christmas trees – and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. Isn’t that a bit too early, I thought.

Then, a few weeks later: Did you do your Christmas shopping? Do you have a tree up? Andrei, what’s Santa bringing you for Christmas? Are you being a good boy, ah?

Wow, do I really have to deal with this, I thought. All I wanted was to take things slowly. Calmly. Thoughtfully. After all, my husband and I had to figure out this Christmas thing. Neither one of us is religious so we were sure we were not going to celebrate and introduce to our son the birth of Jesus and similar material. We were clear on that. But, like in the previous years, we wanted to partake in the cultural aspects of Christmas, and we knew that even this limited introduction of Christmas to our son would most likely be greeted with a number of questions that we will have to answer. And we knew that this year the questions would be more challenging than they were last year (as posed by a four-year-old instead of a three-year-old) and that we needed to clarify our vision quickly.

Just like last year, we got a tree and decorated it. We decided we were going to buy our son a few presents and put them under the tree. We were going to enjoy an abundance of family time, everything calm, simple, stress-free…

Well, that ¬†was our vision. What we failed to take into account was the magnitude of the impact of our surroundings on our still pretty young and excitable son. Maybe I forgot how crazy people are about Christmas. That, in general, in the month of December, people can’t seem to stop thinking, planning, shopping, talking, asking questions about – Christmas. And that we simply couldn’t avoid dealing with the question of Mr. Santa.

Does Santa exist, my son asked me early on. Read more…

Thanksgiving

November 28, 2013 Leave a comment

It’s Thanksgiving Day today. I’ve been feeling it coming for days, maybe even weeks. It’s the week before Thanksgiving, it’s the week after Thanksgiving, have a great Thanksgiving, whatever. Over the years, I even started initiating the “Have a great Thanksgiving” thing. It feels real to me to wish a happy holiday to people. It feels good.

But, even after full fifteen years in America, even after experiencing at least fifteen Thanksgiving Days (some of them alone, by choice, writing like crazy), my feelings about this holiday are pretty “superficial.” Yeah, it’s a holiday, and I even find it quite likable. It’s a moment to stop and smell the roses, that’s at least how I see it. And I like that pause that this holiday invites. It’s also about fullness – full bellies, full houses, people moving around only to come together. It’s not about cities becoming empty, like the Memorial Day is, when you look around and what you notice first are empty streets (as people rush to the beach). I like the holidays that are about emptiness, but I like the fullness of Thanksgiving as well, in a different way. Read more…

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