December is such an exciting time of year. I especially love the Christmas songs. We load up our disc player and crank out the tunes beginning the day after Thanksgiving. We generally sing along as we put up the tree or take down the fall decorations. For some reason I have six or seven CD’s that I return to year after year. The songs invoke memories of when our children were younger or things we did at certain times. Isn’t it funny that the songs are available year round but they just don’t sound right when played in July?
I think the same thing about foods. We are such creatures of habit that we return again and again to the things that have created meaning in our lives. Like the songs, I could make sausage balls for breakfast all year round, but they seem to taste the best around Christmas. We have several candies we make once a year. We work all day to stir them up, roll them into balls, coat them with waxy chocolate, and pop them into our mouths immediately. While celebrating Thanksgiving our children start making lists of the different goodies they would like to see pop up in our kitchen.
I like the sameness of the things that help us connect one generation to another plus I want them to enjoy our time together. Just last week two of the older kids took over the kitchen to “help” some of the younger family members learn to make the chocolate-oatmeal, no-bake, cookies. This is an easy, year-round, recipe. I am not entirely sure who was instructing who because I stayed far, far away but I know it was fun because of the noise and the shrieking. Wax paper was strewn about the kitchen and one intrepid cook added a secret ingredient. The cookies were gone in a flash but the seeds of celebrating in the kitchen were reinforced.
And that is what makes December exciting. We operate under the semblance of “normal” while doing increasingly un-normal things. The weather is cooler and things in general are snappier. Schools become frantic with activities to keep kids busy during the three in between weeks. In the first days after Thanksgiving I was taking a breath and trying to get our lives back to normal when I got a text from the pre-teen. “I have to have a sketch book by tomorrow and a book about girls and drums.” I added it to my list, called Barnes and Noble to see if they had the book and returned to my blissfully normal day.
I was humming along with satisfaction when I got a call from my hair dresser changing our appointment. I was OK with that and continued with my normal round of grocery buying, running the kids to tennis, and sewing some cool things for Christmas. By the end of the day, they added three school projects to the list and the teen texted about a book that HAD to be in her hand by the morning. I called Barnes and Noble and reserved the absolute last copy they had. I juggled a few things while putting the NIX on the immediate need to purchase Styrofoam balls for a December 13 project.
Things were still on the Normal scale, even though on the high end. I gave the fourth grader money in an envelope for his teacher gift, looked over the math papers, listened to the Weekly reader story about headphones, and assured the teen that we would make it to Barnes and Noble before the night was out.
After all the tennis, basketball at the Y, homework completions and dad’s arrival, we piled into the car to go to Barnes and Noble for THE BOOK. All is still normal, except it is raining…should I add cats and dogs or is that just too cliché? Anyways, it is raining. We creep onto the interstate and head south. I can’t see the white lines because of the reflections but we find the exit and pull into the shopping center. Dad sees a restaurant and is kind enough to suggest that tonight might be a good night to eat out. Approval roars from the back seat.
I park and as I am putting my keys into my purse, I notice that my wallet is not there. Well, Dang! They are already across the street waiting on me by the door. I notify the troops but add that I have my checkbook. The teen is shell shocked. “We came all this way and I won’t be able to get my book for class tomorrow?”
“Let’s see if they will take a check.”
The book is at the front as promised with our name on it. I have a check but no driver’s license. The teen fidgets. The book is at her fingertips. The lady is gracious enough to call a manager to see if they can use my information from my membership. They do. We have the book! Unfortunately, dinner is off because NO ONE else has their wallets with them either. In an Eyeore voice the 9-year old states, “Now, we have to go home and eat Chicken Noodle soup.” We kind of drag back to the car and return to the Interstate where we are stuck in traffic for over an hour because of a wreck.
At home, the boys shower while I heat up Chicken Noodle soup. We slurp it down, munch on some crackers and talk about how fortunate we are not to be in that wreck. Out of nowhere I hear a screech.
“Mom! She posted it online. The link to the book is online. I can just read it online.”
I look over at hubs and smile. Normal. All is normal.