Saturday, December 27, 2014

the house suspended in amber

I'll remember this Christmas for the snow and the chaos of dogs. I'll remember that I gave David a magnesium fire starting gadget and he loved it, and he started a fire that morning and every day after, in front of which would amass a pile of snow-wet boots and scarves and sweaters. This was his second visit to our home in Vermont- he met my parents for the first time last year on Christmas morning, something I've always felt he should receive a reward for- but this is the first time I was able to relax and not worry that he was going to run full steam away when he discovered that my family, like all families, is nuts.

When my sister and I go home, we get a little lost figuring out whether we're still technically children- we're not, but we're my parents children, and sometimes we'll regress just a bit, out of old habit.

I think only the appearance of grandchildren will cement into place a sturdy organization of generations- we'll be the parents, little kids will be little kids, and my parents can be grandparents and get old. It seems suitable that grandparents be old. But for now, my mom and dad are just my mom and dad, nothing else, and when I stop and realize that they're aging, not suspended in time like flies in amber, as they should be, and how one day we'll be celebrating Christmas without them, well, that's just not what I signed up for.

Being home is so wonderful, but thoughts like this drift through my head all day long like passing snow flurries, and make me feel a certain sharp anxiety that is much more muted during my normal life. In addition, my dad is going through an intense phase of Anglophilia, and every night he tries to get us to watch British comedies, and my mom refuses, and the whole family erupts in an argument that leaves dad acting all wounded and everyone else on edge, except for David, who, from his place on the couch, seems to float above it all.

Such are the holidays.

But mostly, it's books and sledding and cousins. It's an entire extended family wearing Darn Tough Vermont socks, tromping through the woods and drinking champagne around 5ish. It's endless bananagrams, maple syrup bottles in the stockings, cherry juice and Cabot Cheddar and that certain joy that comes from watching short legged dogs try and hop through deep snow.
But this Christmas has come to an end and tomorrow morning we strike for home. Leaving is always wretched, like that terrible moment when you declare your hot bath has run its course and you have to get out of the tub, shivering inside your towel in the freezing cold house. Only one hundred times worse.  

But there's some relief that comes along with it, because deep inside you know you can't live forever in the bath, alone and peaceful in the steam. Eventually you have to return to your real life and get back to Getting Things Done.

That's where I'm at now. The last night in the warm house in the deep snow, itching to get back to my life and wanting to stay here forever. 

And now to announce the winner of the Vermont Themed Mystery Prize! Reading about all your Hygge was so fun- my favorite prompt yet. And when the post-Christmas depression rolls in, I'll read them all again for the comfort. Thank you for writing. I wish I could send you all a box of maple pops.

 Congratulations Jess! I agree that the best route to Hygge is to decline any invitations, and dive under the covers with some books and movies. And yes, coziness is next to godliness for sure! Please email and I'll get your mystery prize in the mail.

Now, I'll be driving from Ithica to Asheville all day on Monday, but I'll see you here very soon. Merry Christmas everyone, and to those who suffer from the post Christmas depression, best of luck, I'm right there with you. Feel free to reach out.


Aimee said...

In you dads defence, there is nothing better than British comedy and no christmas is complete without a large helping of Monty Python and perhaps a smidge of Rowan Atkinson :-) (Little Briton and the Inbetweeners are also recommended but an acquired taste!)

Seeing Each Day said...

Sorry about the melancholy you're about to feel upon leaving tomorrow.if you're dad hasn't already viewed this, please encourage him to watch (via YouTube , unless he has other means) the British show 'would I lie to you' - it's hilarious, as in wonderful astute British humour hilarious. Have a safe trip to your other home. Renee

DeNae said...

Your pictures combined with your words are a salve to my soul. Thank you for sharing your heart here. It is beautiful to behold.

Michelle said...

Oh Melina, it all sounds and looks wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts and words and images. And that out of the bath reference - YES! I've mentioned this to a friend once. I feel it almost every time.

Safe travels, friend.

Rachel said...

I just received two pairs for Darn Tough Vermont socks for Christmas (in Minnesota)! I'm wearing one of the pairs as I type this. So comffyyyyy.

Jill said...

Safe travels, Melina! That post-Christmas blues is a bummer, isn't it? Hey, my husband got DarnTough socks this year and I got me some SmartWools. My sister's yarn store sells them (in MN). They're awesome! P.S. Has your dad ever watched Vicar of Dibley? If he hasn't, he should- it's brilliantly and irreverently funny.

rachieannie said...

I have 3 children and I still revert back to my parents' child when I'm home. Maybe because I'm the baby and was taken care of longer?

Stacy Monaghan said...

What a wonderful holiday! I am envious of all the snow - we had a green Christmas and that was highly unusual! Hope you had a safe trip home and hold those memories tight!

Linzy said...

I never quite know what to do with myself once December 26th rolls around. I usually just look around a room full of crumpled up wrapping paper and discarded bows and think, now what? Not to mention the Christmas tree always looks incredibly sad the day after Christmas, like it knows its days are numbered. Your parents' home looks like a magical place to spend Christmas. Nothing compares to being able to go home for the holidays. Safe travels, Melina.

Anonymous said...

Waving to your dad from the UK!

Lynn said...

A little late to this post, but no less touched by your writing. I loved and hated the comments you wrote about your parents, because, well....I'm that parent, too. In addition, my parents are alive 91 and 88, let me tell you how grateful I am to have them, and how sad I am to see what they have aged in longer the vibrant, productive, active people they were, motorcycling all over Europe, skiing, socializing, etc. It's life, it's normal transition, but god, it sucks and makes me sad.
Talk about not signing up....right. Neither did i, but here I am. I hope to live to a ripe old age, but it doesn't look like fun.
Keep up the great writing!