First Christmas–again

Today we are going to go cut down a christmas tree. We are going to find a tree farm, pile out of the car, purposefully step in something muddy, and wander around a tiny forest until we find a tree we can all agree on. We will pay the tree farmer something that is at once exorbitant and a pittance for a lush tree that has grown from a tiny seed just to grace my living room for a month.

I have no idea what we did for a christmas tree last year. I think I bought one of those three-foot ones outside a grocery store so that I could put it up out of Henry’s reach. Either way, Violet doesn’t seem to remember it or many other details about christmas in general. Partly because she’s three this year and we’re having many firsts anyway, and partly because it’s fully been a third of her life since we last experienced christmas. Henry of course, has no recollection either so this is another first christmas. When children are super little, these annual experiences and traditions grow in comprehension like the tiers on a cake every year that they happen. This year Violet is pretty interested in Santa. Last year she didn’t really understand what a Santa was, but this year is definitely the year of Santa. I don’t expect to ever have a christmas like this again with a smarty-pants like Violet. Already she is questioning certain discrepancies in the Santa story like the flying reindeer, how he gets to everyone, how he gets into our house, how he knows exactly what to get, and many other minute details about elves, and sleighs, and gravity.

The day after Thanksgiving when I was busy wasting time on the internet in an attempt to find deals (there were none) I found one where you pay a month’s wage in a third-world country so that an “Elf” will call your house and talk to your child. Not show up, call. Scoff all you want, but I know for certain that people were buying it because the deal showed how many purchases had already been made. It looks like I’m not the only parent with smart kids trying desperately to unravel the mystery of the Santa Claus.

I didn’t buy it. The best part about the mystery of Santa Claus is discovering that the spirit of Christmas lives on not just on one old man and a bunch of elves, but in mothers and fathers and friends and family. Someday Violet and Henry will be let in on an even better story about Christmas. The story where we are inspired to give gifts by the generosity of Nicholas of Myrna–a fourth-century bishop from Greece who was known for secret gift-giving–who in turn was inspired by the generosity of Grace of Jesus Christ.


a day in lines

7 am wake-up alarm

a shower

to scour

and then sleepy baby charms.

Breakfast is eggs

with sausage and greens

and the kids both chow down

like eating machines.

Running and dressing

upstairs and down

musn’t be late

and live up to our renown.

Church and then back

to get packed in the car

drive fifty-two miles

they’ve behaved themselves–so far

Parking is free

but the walking is cold

the Aquarium beckons

with magic untold.

Big fish, touch tanks,

the Octopus eats!

Then hungry stomachs lead us

to Red Robin’s treats.

Can’t go home yet

with bellies full of starbucks

now on the search

for a clean bathroom deluxe.

We waste over a hour

in a nicknack store

it’s a good thing our kids are cute

or they’d kick us out the door.

Finally we leave

and reflect in the car,

“Yes, they’re fighting over a balloon, crying for lack of a nap, and indisposed to negotiating the confines of a car-seat now, but their behavior today was totally above par!”










an homage to “Earth, Wind & Fire”

Not really. I’m not sure it’s possible to write an homage to a band that has lyrics like “…Computers on the rise, our feelings are synthesized, makes it hard to feel the touch of your love that’s real.”


How about an homage to wind, sun, earth, rain, silence?

The wind; a mighty herald
bringing a thunderclap of flurried emotions through the gold-leafed trees.
The sun; waxes eloquent
in his journey across the sky, hidden by clouds to write summertime prose.
The earth; succombing to the stealthy spread of frost,
trembles with the pulse-racing stammers of new love
The rain rushing; downward bound.
Dashing, splashing the first steps of the snowflake dance.
The silence, broken by footsteps crunching frozen grass
and the crackle of fall leaves chasing each other in a merry game of tag.
I let out an audible sigh.
Dear Winter, I know you’re coming. I’m a little bit sad about it but I’m also undone by my childish anticipation of the promise of snow.