...listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir accompanied by the Canadian Brass. The tree is lit, the decorations merry, the music deep and warm, and I have joy in my heart.
...alone the house is quiet as Mark works late and Beccah works later.
...happy in this peaceful environ, the harmonies and resolutions and cadences and crescendos pouring over under around by through me and Silent Night resonates in a place that is so deep inside me it brings me to tears.
...remembering winters when I was a little girl, when I felt safe and loved by my later-volatile dad, my mom made me grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup before I'd walk to kindergarten by myself in my cold must-wear-a-dress-by-law, that new show, Sesame Street, on in the background for my younger brothers.
...thinking about Christmases past my dad stopping the car suddenly to give a homeless guy the only money he had in his wallet after having stopped at the pawn shop to sell some instrument or another so we'd have money for gifts.
...remembering my dad's band students surprising us on snowy Christmas Eves to play Christmas carols on their horns outside on our lawn as the temperature dropped. We would shiver increasingly more as we hearkened to their gift which was as good as Santa coming maybe better because I was keenly aware of what a special gift it was, and the feelings that those students must have had for my dad to give up part of their Christmas Eve to bring us their exuberant brand of joy. He would take my hand or put his arm around me or pick me up to both keep me warm and to remind me that he loved me Cath his little cabbage head more than just about anything else in the whole entire world.
...remembering my dad's Christmas band concerts that fell on my December birthday, in particular, the one in which I was wearing my favorite green velvet dress. He called me up to the podium and gave me the baton and before I knew it the band was playing Happy Birthday Dear Catherine while I conducted. I honestly don't know of a time when I have ever felt so intrinsically special.
...thinking about Beccah and the day she was born twenty-one years ago on Thursday and the fathers who are now absent from our lives. Her father, my father, her father's father.
....wishing that Mark, the best father, had been in that room with all of us as I pushed life into her tiny little body, and yearning for the neverchildren he and I decided, rightly, not to ever have.
...thinking about the Christmas night that Bo, my ex-husband's dad, lay dying in a hospital bed across the valley. I sat on the porch, alone, watching the snow fall so heavy, so electrically aware that he was breathing his last breath, but accepting his offering of brilliant sky of snowfall by which to remember him before he took his leave.
...reminding myself that Christmas is as much about ghosts as it is about spreading joy. For it is in that very joy that our ghosts are born.