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Stuck Middle: Dreaming of a regular Christmas

It’s 2:47 in the afternoon several days after Christmas 2020, and I am still in my pajamas.

I remember days like this in the midst of The Holidays when I was young and had no reason to go out, had new toys to break or games to play in the playroom, or a good game to watch, and just had no particular reason to get dressed. Mom would fuss a little, and Dad would harumph half-heartedly; they picked their offspring battles wisely and vacation sartorial standards, or lack thereof, just didn’t blip very strongly on their radar.

This year, one most of us will be delighted to forget, I really don’t care to venture out and contract anything, I have a couple of new books to read, my grandboys are playing with other grandparents who are visiting, my children have their own busy lives to lead, and The Empress (TE … she who usually steers our ship) has a project for both of us right here at home. We have not done Christmas cards in many years. We have had great intentions, taken too many pictures, busied ourselves in too many ways, and just have not quite managed. But not this year. Not in 2020. Too much else has gone awry; we just decided as others apparently better organized than we seem to manage, the least we can do is return their good will. If there is one thing 2020 has needed, it is good will.

I used to write a poem each Yule with a few oddly rhymed anecdotes from our family’s annual antics, surround it with a few candid snapshots, et voila: festive greeting. This year, I just could not seem to condense our lives into anything poetic. Too much has taken place since last we did this, so we concocted a more detailed letter and worked very hard to not make it tedious. I am personally guilty of not even reading some of the annual screeds we receive; I would rather watch paint dry. And this year, most of us led mightily prosaic existences behind our masks. I mean, who really wants to hear about searches for toilet paper and antiseptic wipes? Was elbow-bumping a chance-met acquaintance at the Teeter, and then feeling guilty about it really Christmas letter worthy? Or that I felt almost triumphant when I got to recognizing peoples’ eyes above their masks … is that worth recounting? No one went on safari (actually, I have a friend who, wonder of wonders, did manage that safely), or visit much of anywhere else exotic, or do anything else newsworthy. And there were noteworthy events this year; young people graduated, a few got married, but everything except more-than-ordinarily vicious politics seemed just subdued and rather tentative.

Enough. Time for 2021. It just must be a better experience. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions per se, but this year I think we should all resolve to buck up and get on with life. If we don’t hop on quickly, the bus will leave without us, and no one likes standing around waiting for the next one, especially in a mask. The New Years bell is ringing and the conductor is about to announce “ALL ABOARD!” I am packed and ready. How about you? Let’s go! Happy New Year!