It is odd to be a Jew, on Christmas day. The whole world stops and celebrates, and I wake up and wonder how I'm going to keep my kids occupied. This morning, I am lucky enough to be up at the weekend house of my best friend from college. My kids and I drove up here yesterday afternoon---it only took us three hours in the windy rain, and one stop at a deli frequented by Teamsters, where we picked up Sprite and gum. We listened to Madonna's Hard Candy album, and then Feist's The Reminder. Though my kids objected at first, they ultimately settled into listening to a couple of middle-aged women sing about love and lust.
My friend's driveway is long and snowy and as we approached the house, I felt my blood pressure dropping. Thank God, someone else would be in charge of dinner. And she was---she and her daughter whipped up spinach lasagna, while I sipped a glass of white wine and ate about fifty olives. Our boys played outside in the snow, and emerged, wet and happy and exhausted, an hour later.
My friend C. is my soulmate and inspiration. She managed to have three kids, become a tenured history professor and keep her marriage and sanity intact. Her weekend house is a comfort and joy---sunny, peaceful, clean. In the guest room shower, I discovered the pleasures of CVS's Ultra Moisturizing Body Wash in Milk and Honey. Other than the fact that her puppy woke me up at 5 a.m. this morning, the last twelve hours have been a dream. Our oldest boys were born on the same day, in the same hospital, an hour apart, and they have a bond that is strong and powerful and delightful to watch. As they approach adolescence, I still see in them the babies they are and the men they might become. They giggle and push each other, and play video games. This afternoon, I wil leave my older son behind to hang with his oldest friend, and take my younger son back to New Jersey to see my husband, who elected to stay home with our dog. (I didn't completely abandon 44--our neighbor took pity on them both and had them over for Christmas Eve dinner of shrimp and rigatoni with eggplant.) We will reunite this afternoon and see a movie and eat Chinese food, as Jews have done for generations. Happy Holidays.