I have a love-hate with the holiday. First, the good part: Andrew’s brother arrives. Morgan is an amazing chef (and conversationalist. Ladies, if you haven’t found a keeper yet…).
That’s not to say that Andrew isn’t. He’s a fantastic cook, and I’m lucky to come home to a warm dinner most nights (and on the others I usually enjoy the leftovers). But there’s really good food, and then there’s…well, Morgan’s food. He probably should have been a chef.
Around Monday I start skipping lunch, hoping that come Thursday I’ll have saved up enough calories to justify participating in the upcoming meal. By Tuesday I’ll doubt that it will happen, and by Wednesday I don’t really care anymore. All I can think about are Morgan’s brined turkey, the stuffing (from a recipe that’s four hundred years old, if you believe the family lore) and Andrew’s indescribable apple pie.
Okay, I know the tradition, but he won’t hold with pumpkin. If you want his reasons be prepared for an earful.
The part I’m less fond of starts Friday morning when Andrew and The Uncles (Morgan and Jason) head down to our basement to do…whatever it is they do for three consecutive days. I’m hazy on the details, but my impression is that it involves a fair amount of brewing, playing cards and games, and discussing proposed changes in world politics.
On the bright side, they’re responsible for making and cleaning up all the meals.
Every once in a while I’ll go downstairs and feign some disapproval, but it’s mostly for show. The truth is that I’m going to have a great weekend too. I’ll get some much needed alone time with each of our kids, for whom the snow is still new enough that they’ll probably want to spend most of their time with me outside.
After an hour or so of playing around we’ll all be frozen, so we’ll head in for cups of cocoa and a movie—probably the original (and superior) Miracle on 34th Street. The kids will settle down, entranced. I’ll quietly pull out my laptop, and by the time Kris Kringle is working for Macy’s I’ll be wading knee deep through eleven months worth of photos.
Yes, the time has come: time to lay out this year’s Christmas card.
Odds are that we won’t finish the movie, or the card for that matter. My daughter will ask what I’m doing and then offer to help. Before long Aaron will want to join in and after half an hour or so the 2014 photos will have been forgotten. Instead I’ll have given in to their pleas to look at the pictures from our first trip to the Como Zoo, where Andrew spent his time in the kids’ park pretending to be the Darth Vader to Aaron and Evie’s Luke and Leia (Star Wars is big in our house at the moment). Another half hour and I’ll have given in to re-watching our recordings of Evie’s first sign (“more”) and a video that we’ve affectionately named “The Pear Reaction.”
Every year Andrew trades carte blanche over the Thanksgiving weekend for carte blanche on all the other holidays. Either he’s a terrible negotiator or just a really, really good guy.