Act 1Wake up slow, call the parents and siblings, the aunts and cousins. Open gifts. Leave the crumpled wrapping paper all over the floor, the way my husband likes it, at least for an hour or so. My brother in Jamaica sends photos of my mother surrounded by everyone who comes to visit. He sends them by cell phone and keeps sending them all morning. This is his present to me.
Make breakfast of sausages and scrambled eggs, with tomato sauce stirred in, and onions and tomatoes, cheese and diced ham, just the way my dad used to make it on Christmas morning. Then holiday movies on TV, with no one really watching; my son figuring out his new gizmo that tracks his every movement, sleep patterns, eating habits, activity levels (of course the family member who needs this device least wanted it most); my husband reading on his Kindle; my daughter napping on the couch; me watching episodes of Parenthood and taking and making phone calls.
My husband and son go to the supermarket for Christmas dinner fixings while my daughter and I clean up the house, clear the wrapping paper, rescue the bows, pack the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, tidy the bathrooms and get everything ready for round two. My husband makes almost the entire meal of honey glazed ham, three cheese mac and cheese, barbeque chicken, caesar salad, and heats up the savory corn souffle I made earlier. Everybody dresses for company.
While my husband finishes cooking dinner (God bless this man), my son, daughter and I go over to visit Aunt Winnie, whose gifts we delivered last evening. My cousin, the poli sci professor, is already there. My son helps her run a string of Christmas lights around the window and fairy lights around a little table top tree. She has brought a whole holiday meal for Aunt Winnie and her home attendant; I am to provide tomorrow's dinner. She has also brought a stuffed toy Santa and a raft of red poinsettias, just to make sure Aunt Winnie knows it's Christmas. Another aunt, who is 90, and her daughter, who lived with our family for a few years while we were growing up, are also there. We are unrelated by blood, but they are family. They will be having Christmas dinner with us, but have stopped by to see Aunt Winnie on the way. My mom calls while we are there and we put her on speaker phone and everyone talks at once, such a cacophonous crew, including Aunt Winnie, trying to get a word in edgewise. Finally, we all shut up so Aunt Winnie can have her say, even though we don't understand a single word of it. But her spirits are good.
We walk back home, all of us together, and serve dinner, not standing on one bit of ceremony. Aunt Megan says this is just what she needs, everything low key. We watch a hard fought basketball game, Mimai Heat versus Oklahoma City, a rematch of last season's finalists. My daughter, the game fan, is fascinated by how knowledgeable her 90-year old aunt is about the teams. Later, my daughter and I go to see the 10:30 p.m. show of Les Miserables. The men clean up, having declined to leave to house at that hour. The movie is almost three hours long, and a good portion of the city has turned out for opening night. The line stretches down three flights of stairs, out of the theater and down the street to the next avenue. We are just now getting home. No critiques here tonight. I loved the film. I especially loved sharing the music with my daughter. It's 3:30 a.m. and the whole house is now asleep. Except for me, sitting here with my noisy brain, which doesn't drown out the happy.