I’m writing these words at nine a.m. on Christmas Eve. Not a creature is stirring, not even Mrs. T, who isn’t a morning person, or my mother, who went to bed gratefully last night and with any luck will sleep a little while longer. The sun is shining in Smalltown, U.S.A., something it evidently felt no need to do last week. I showed up on Thursday after a more than usually tedious eleven-hour journey and plunged myself into the complicated routine of taking care of my seventy-eight-year-old mother, who broke her pelvis two months ago. Mrs. T flew out to Smalltown to look after her while I wrapped up my remaining deadlines for 2007, and now I’m here, too, making coffee, running errands, and exuding all the good cheer I have in me.
The sunshine helps, as does the season. Mrs. T put up a Christmas tree in the living room last week, and I opened up the old spinet piano the other day and banged out carols and seasonal songs to the best of my now-limited ability. Still, I feel a bit like Othello right now: my occupation’s gone. I’m too preoccupied with looking after my mother to work on my Louis Armstrong biography or do any serious reading, I don’t have any pieces due until the second week in January, and the nearest theater is two hours away (though I heard the other day that the Smalltown Little Theater was holding auditions for its spring production of South Pacific).
So yes, I’m at loose ends–but very, very glad to be. What better way is there to spend Christmas, after all, than the way I’m spending this one? I’m with the people I love most, helping to take care of someone who not so long ago took loving care of me. As folks say around here, that’s the reason for the season, and a good one, too.
I hear one of my housemates stirring, so I’ll see you later. Merry Christmas to all!