I am sitting on my bed; the house is quiet. Ben's in LA for the night for work. Silas is tucked into bed with a fever and a throat so swollen I can see it just by peering into his mouth. Eden, after probably pulling all the tissues out of the box and squeezing all the saline drops out of the bottle near her bed must now be asleep. Even the dog next door is not barking.
We finished Halloween without too much fanfare -- the ninja and Ariel-turned-ladybug happily raced door-to-door with another ninja and a flower fairy, and all was well. The two of them had decided ahead of time to trade their candy in for a toy, something I did not offer but a friend we know does. They walked in from trick-or-treating, chose three pieces of candy each, and turned over their bags. There wasn't much to do but comply so after they went to bed I rifled through the rest, made myself a stash (where are the mounds bars, by the way, are they extinct??) and then today bought them each a toy, of their dreams apparently, for $10.
Already today -- perhaps after having witnessed the mad rush of CVS to replace 6 ft skeletons with shiny-cheeked wreaths while I was filling a prescription -- I feel the hot breath of Christmas on my neck. As every year, but perhaps a bit more in earnest this year, I am wondering what I will do differently to slow things down, to lean away from the compulsive consumption, to stand back from the perfection the season demands. I have never used the word "perfection" to describe the weight of the season until tonight, but I think that's what it is, even driving the lengthy to-do lists. This week the catalogs began rolling in full of beautiful sparkly houses, organic striped leggings, wooden washer and dryer toys, cranberry cocktails and chestnut stuffing -- the perfect gifts, decorations, tables, trees, parties, and traditions, all perfectly photographed, perfectly thoughtful, delicious, beautiful, hosted, and handmade.
The catch always when trying to regroup or clarify my vision before charging headlong toward December is that doing these things -- hand making things, decorating, baking, hosting, photographing the kids with Santa, buying presents, writing down wish lists -- is fun.
And so I am left with my hands open in front of me holding the question of balance, a posture I hope to remember as I click through photos for Christmas cards and linger on etsy an hour too long.