I arrived at JFK Airport on Saturday afternoon at 3 P.M. for the 4:10 flight they swore was not delayed. Then they started delaying it. Then they delayed it more. And more ... and more ... I reached this room, my final destination, at about 6AM on Sunday morning. You can imagine how excited I was about this, and furthermore, my Mom let me sleep today unitl 5 P.M. It's like I have jet lag. Also it's embarrassing to say I slept 'til 5 P.M. Like I guess the day is over now, I missed it.
This is what happens to me in a house late at night when there's not a drop to drink and my system has lost track of the hours. I look for things I shouldn't look for and try to find things I shouldn't see. I wanted to find my birth certificate since I need to get a new passport, and my copy's gone, but I couldn't find it. But I did find my father's death certificate. An old passport where my brother looks confused & innocent and my mother looks young and ready for Europe. I don't know where she was actually going, I'm just telling you what she looked ready for.
A letter my grandmother wrote to her son. Handwritten four pages and it could break your heart I swear it.I don't know if she wrote it before or after he died, I really can't tell what the occasion was: Once I lay in labor clutching friendly hands, and breathing deeply and yearning for the end; when the fog lifted, a small form lay in my arms and it was my day. A hundred nights I went to your cradle and touched your warm body. You stood in your crib and reached for a sunbeam.
Anyhow it's this stuff that always makes it hard to be here. Not here -- it's not hard to be here here, in Michigan. I know how to be here and be aware of that stuff at the same time. This is where our lives went on, after all, this is where we continued, afterwards, to live. Ohio is still the place we are connected to through him, and we haven't had enough time practicing how to go on when other things keep happening , too, but i guess that's how time works. Time and families.
But Ohio is where we go from here for Christmas, to see my father's family. It was weird at first to go without my mother, then it was weird to go without my father, then it was weird to go without my father's girlfriend because then we were going just me and lewis, two angry annoying orphans fighting about music in a car not suited for the winter weather.
Because Crystal thought Ohio was actually IN Michigan, let me explain before I venture even further into my holiday stories -- I'm from the state of Michigan, this is where I grew up and it's where my Moms live. My Dad's family is the Quaker side, he's from Ohio a different state, located below Michigan. My Dad didn't ever live there as an adult, he lived in Michigan with us. Lately the routine's been that I go to Michigan from NYC to see my Moms, and then my brother and I drive to Ohio, and then I go back to NYC.
When we were kids, we'd all go down to Ohio together as a four-person family and it was a big deal. I couldn't hardly wait! It's not like that anymore. A lot of things are different now obvs and though the holiday season is allegedly about joy & family & togetherness & consumerism, after this weekend's snowpocalypse and my personal Delta Airlnes trauma I've re-determined that it's actually about Family-Focussed Masochism. Why do we insist upon gathering during this specific December week rather than, say, during a nice temperate week in September or May? 'Cause of Jesus? Obvs I think Jesus was awesome and etc but I feel like if he was still alive, he'd probs be in Zimbabwe feeding the hungry, or in Boca with Mary-Mag eating KFC. Next year in Jerusalem kthx.
I do love these people. I love them, wholly and completely, and they are my family, and they are the only ones who have been around all this time, though less often now. I love them absolutely and love to see them. But the weight of the holiday and the travel arrangements we must make to make it happen and the money that's to be spent when everyone is short ... I just wish we could have a picnic in June and go boat riding and call it a day, a good family gathering. We do well at weddings. Someone needs to get married again. I vote "not it."
I totes yearn for a time, that long-ago time, when making puffy-painted sweatshirts as gifts, playing an insipid game for bad chocolate with a wooden spin-top, eating lots of potato products, making paper dolls with my cousins and relishing my father's attention during the two weeks he was actually off work and not on a business trip was the cat's meow. And I don't even like cats. So you know I'm serious if I'm bringing up kittens in a positive context.
I have a new idea I'm going to instate next year to bring the spirit of Christmas back into our lives but adult-like. Doing things the same way we used to do them but as adults can be slightly humiliating, like wearing pants that don't fit anymore. I guess the number one "new adult way to celebrate' is "drinking excessively and discussing the calorie content of pumpkin pie." Hm. I like giving gifts though.
Anyhow enough of my rambling. Tomorrow I'll do a proper Sunday Top Ten, all about Christmas Specials. What are your favorites? Let me know!
What I'm digging right now:
The West Wing: In Excelsis Dio, Christmas with Jed Bartlet, Christmas Cards
Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special
My So Called Life Episode 15 - Angels
The Office: Secret Santa Christmas Special , Jim Wraps Dwights Desk in Gift-Wrap
Arrested Development's Afternoon Delight
Charlie Brown Christmas and
of course our favorite A Very Brady Christmas
I want to listen to Ave Maria again and lie down on the couch. It's cold here so I need a lot of layers, I sleep like a marshmallow man. I'm safe underneath all the layers and portable too, and when I close my eyes I can be anywhere.