Friday, November 23, 2007


Has everyone been as busy as I have these last few days? Why do holidays go so swiftly? On Tuesday night as my daughter and I swapped out our rollerskates for shoes, it seemed like we had an endless stretch of days in front of us. Now it's Friday night already. We're piled high in leftovers and cardgames and what seems like an endless rotation of dishes.

But it's been really fun. Rich. On Tuesday night, Son of Mando had a friend sleep over. They were up late playing not video games, but checkers. On Wednesday, while we were all playing in the woods behind our house -- a treat I usually deny myself deferring to other chores -- the boys discovered that we could actually walk to my son's friend's house by crossing the woods. Five minute walk, no roads, no streets. That amazed me in a "Stand By Me" old-fashioned radio flyer kind of way. The entire way back my daughter and I just said over and over, "Wow, that's just crazy." It is.

On Thursday we had a truly wonderful time with my brother and all of his inlaws. My middle brother has a wonderful extended family, and we've been privileged to share some of lifes joys and heartaches with them. They are family to us as well. My brother's youngest daughter, my fourth niece, is very ill with something called biliary atresia, a condition she's had since birth. She's a hard worker and it breaks my heart to see her life sort of in suspended animation while they figure out what this disease will do next.

Today was an oddball day. I spent a little time working at home and the office, with my daughter in tow; she's always up for a trip to the office. We also played in the new snow. Snow! (There is a period during which it charms me and then suddenly, around January 7 or 8, the charm wears off. This is why, this winter, I will learn to ski.) There was no post-Thanksgiving shopping; most of my friends do a charity gift exchange (we make contributions to favored charities rather than buy gifts) and with Santa visiting The Other House this year my shopping will be a little lighter. I don't know what PR machine created this new tradition of staying up all night on Thanksgiving to go shopping at 4 a.m. the next day. What happened to putting up a Christmas tree that day? Or Museums? Or not doing anything at all?

Tonight, we dropped our many books and movies off at the library and searched in vain for Christmas lights; our search took us all the way to another nearby town where barely did we see an unbulbed tree.

So here we all are, in holiday limbo, somewhere between leftovers and stringing lights. The kids have been up every night since Tuesday until at least 10 or later, and I'm usually not far behind them. Watching them play and relax probably could teach me something between loads of dishes and laundry and checking work email.

I just hope that everyone has as much to be thankful for as I do. Beautiful, healthy, smart children who are the light of my life. A wonderful family. Loving friends. A home and plenty of food and warmth. A job I look forward to doing every single day. My own health, clarity, and, 80 percent of the time, peace. Happiness. Satisfaction. Hope.

These things are gifts. I didn't earn them. These and other little miracles are the things that keep me going. And I am happy to share my leftovers.

Even though it really is too early, I'll kick off the holiday season with a tune from Ricky Scaggs, from the Skaggs Family Christmas recording. Here's one entitled Go Thee Down.

I hope you're enjoying a few leftovers of the soul along with that second pumpkin pie in your fridge and turkey soup.


At November 24, 2007 3:55 PM, Blogger DrDon said...

Mando - Sounds like a busy, though satisfying, holiday. I especially like the being out in the woods part. I don't do that nearly as much as I should but maybe I can get Boring to take a photo-field trip with me one weekend if we get a nice snowstorm. Have a god rest of the weekend.

At November 24, 2007 10:30 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Funny Freudian there at the end, Doc? ;-)

Just talked to a friend a bit ago who got back from the Allegheny National Forest. That thar's some woods. Western NY, where I spent some time in the youth of my new unmarried life, is just breathtaking and sooooooo easy to get to. Plus, there's bingo with Native Americans, and an IGA that carries Yuengling beer. Heaven on earth! I'll pack the pie.



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