Yup, it's Christmas Eve. I've no idea how it happened, really, it snuck up on me like one of those super creepy Elves on the Shelves that I can't believe people have time for. It gets you thinking, when you wake up to fresh baked biscuits and a lit up tree on Christmas Eve morning. When you slip on your lobster print Wellies and walk with your little man across the street to let your neighbor's tophat chicken out to roam the yard and hunt for a big fat after-the-rain- worm breakfast. And maybe, if you're lucky and the mood is right, the fast growing son who has recently started talking about girls will let you hold his hand in his hoody pocket on the way back through the gate and down the driveway before running back to his DS, PS3 and best friend down the block.
If I look one way down my street, I see the one turn I have to make to get to Henry's school two blocks away. On the way there I would pass the homes of friends, goats, and a young guy who is currently building an outdoor living roofed classroom at my school. If I look in the other direction, I see a local brewery I can walk to and have my favorite pint on the bar before I order, where there is a ping pong paddle I call 'mine' (it's the blue one with the nubs out and starting to peel a little at the tops). On the way there I would pass more friends, a newborn boy, and the owners of the little brewery who live right next door. They just released their first house made Porter. I'm not usually a Porter fan, but it is good as hell.
On mornings like this it does me well to remember where I live, what a rare thing I have. If I continue down the road I will come upon a little store on the left called the West Village Market. If I go in there I can buy local eggs, meats, cheese, soap, beer, pasta, crackers, every condiment you can think of including a killer mustard and some kim chi I will try one day. There are locally made pickles and baked goods, bags and cards and journals and everything else you could need. They have local salmon jerky for crying out loud. This market is sandwiched between a local DVD place (I think we may have the last one in the country) where they will talk to my film geek husband about movies until he is satisfied and a bakery owned by good friends.
The friends I get to have are insane: bakers and florists, chocolate makers, clothing makers, quilters and knitters and woodworkers. There are aerial artists, martial artists, mixed media artists, poets and musicians and all manners of people who can make something of nothing on any old day they please. And the teachers. God, the teachers. There are so many. And they are amazing. Even when one.more.thing. makes them have a nervous breakdown in the front office or copy room. They bounce back like nothing I've ever seen, those little human Superballs. I love you, teachers.
It makes you think about your family, Christmas Eve does, in a way you couldn't capture on parchment with one of this old timey quill pens, never mind with this silly machine on a blog. I am blessed blessed blessed. I am blessed with a 9 year old who still lets me hold his hand sometimes when the mood is right. And even though I can feel him skipping away from me day by day, I am blessed with an amazing man who will show him the ropes of awkward adolescence and remind me that he'll be just fine. My boys. Today I will pull Henry into the kitchen with me to attempt some holiday baking and we'll eat steak for dinner (a loving gesture by my vegetarian husband who will be stuck with a lonely mushroom of some sort, no doubt) and track Santa on NORAD, even though he doesn't quite believe anymore. We'll have our first Christmas with my parents close by and I hear we'll eat a Christmas ham (a loving gesture by my vegetarian parents who can't bring themselves to make their dear carnivorous daughter and grandchild eat something called a 'celebration roast'). And I will try to hang onto this gratitude far into the new year, when I don't have twinkling lights and 5 days to sleep in to remind me how damn lucky I am.
Happy Days Y'all. For reals.