This has been perhaps the strangest Christmas season in memory for our household.
I seem to spend most of my time preparing for people to arrive or leave, or recovering from their arriving or leaving. The Husband comes home unexpectedly in the middle of the night from his days on the road. The Boy goes back and forth to his college town, or to spend the night with old high school friends. Middle Sister spends several nights each week with friends across town – sleeping over is easier than a half hour commute late at night. Oldest left after Thanksgiving and returns home tonight. A long visit from her boyfriend will require even more flexibility for the “incredible elasti-house.”
The house is alternately neat as a pin or cluttered with electronics, coats and gloves, shoes, and books. It’s either dead silent, warm and cozy with Christmas favorites playing low, or boisterous with loud voices, singing, and laughter.
On any given day I might need to cook for one, two, three, four, five, or more. Often I don’t know the count until late in the day, and meal plans must be hastily re-arranged. And then there are the planned extended family visitations. Three in the coming week,meaning much cooking, family baggage stress, and upheaval.
The long-standing tradition of family viewings of our favorite Christmas shows has disappeared; we simply hope to watch a few of the Favorite favorites when all five of us are home at the same time.
On the whole, not the most peaceful of Christmas seasons. And yet, not disastrous. Simply not familiar.
And so, my new Christmas mantra: Adapt. Adapt. Adapt.