I'd forgotten how pretty a foot of snow on the ground looks. I have to admit, despite a slew of problems and decisions facing me after the new year, it's good to be home. Or as close as I'm likely to get to that abstract (to me) concept. Mom and Dad appear to be in good health. My niece is whip-smart and a fabulous dresser (What more could a GUncle* want?). I'm surrounded by memories, both good and bad, thankfully, mostly good. The room I'm in right now is outside the boys' and girls' bedrooms that we grew up in. It's fairly large, and currently being used to store toys and games that my niece has no room for at her house. There are various (unfinished) art/craft projects scattered about and furniture pieces that currently don't have a home. There's a computer desk and my mom's aforementioned woefully slow desktop PC. I've managed to squeeze out whatever speed is left in the creaky processor and noisy hard drive, making checking my e-mail and composing this missive tolerable if not quick. The desk is surrounded by casino games (for Mom) and puzzle and Barbie games to entertain my niece. Everywhere in every room including this one there are family photos in and out of frames, on the wall and tucked into other photos. They are of my father's fairly large family and my sibling's and our (limited) progeny. I will miss my sister this whole week. Thankfully, as the years pass the mourning becomes more wistful and less a painful ache.
Directly behind me is an alcove that I briefly moved into as an older teenager. Preferring the lack of real privacy to the symbolism of moving from my childhood bedroom. It's been filled as well with unused furniture and more pictures. Most of them are of my sister but there's an 8x10 of me tucked in there as well. I don't believe I've duplicated the smile beaming out from that photo in many, many years. But I want to, and that counts for something I guess. There are ceramic and fabric angels scattered around the pictures as well as several candles in holders of glass and brass and other decorative settings. Yet another preference I'm only now realizing I may have unconsciously brought from home.
At the center of the alcove and indeed by default the focal point of the space, sits a 3 foot tall orange glass vase. I remember the why of picking it out if not the when, but I'm thinking I was a young teenager. I vaguely recall paying for it myself and I'm absolutely certain I picked it out alone. At first blush now, a case could be made that it's hideous. Judging by it's display here amongst treasured photos it seems my folks disagree. And so do I. It was a gift freely given, because I wanted to brighten up not just Christmas, but every day in this home we shared. And I thought that it was beautiful. When I turn around and see it sitting there, and the memories of Christmas' past and family gatherings and those we have lost come flooding into my heart and soul, to me, It still looks beautiful.
Have a Merry Christmas everyone and a safe, happy and joyous holiday weekend. I'll speak with you again after the holiday.