Monday, December 28, 2009

Nine fathoms deep it had followed us from the land of mist and snow...

I've been in Oklahoma since Dec. 19th, on Christmas leave with my husband. We've mostly been at his parents' house because he will be deploying soon, but, as usual, there has been a fair amount of traveling here and there, trying to see everyone at least somewhat equally. It's tiring, and I don't have the proper good attitude about it. I should think how lucky I am that so many people love us and that we have places to be. I never regret the big, close families, but sometimes I wish for a few guiltless days of hanging out with him somewhere beautiful and silent, and a more sacred, peaceful Christmas. Oh well...merry chaos is good too, I suppose.

My best Christmas memory happened when I was about nine years old. I was standing in the back of Bunch Baptist Church in a white gown and wire halo wrapped with tinsel. I was one of the heavenly host. We were behind the Holy Family, about to approach Bethlehem, which was played by a really realistic and beautiful cut-out of the city's skyline made of grocery sacks by my artist mother. It was hung on the wall behind the baptistry, with the one light shining on it. We were all singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem," walking slowly with our candles toward the front of the church. I've been trying to feel like that every Christmas since, but haven't succeeded in my adult life.

I don't like for Christmas to be a logistics task, but I don't know how to fix it. The answer is not, "Do what you need to do for your own happiness." We do that the whole rest of the year, going where the Army wants us to go. We chose it over our families, so we have to do what we can to alleviate the pain that causes them.

But who cares about all this, really? Because the real news is that it snowed just before Christmas Eve -- a record blizzard for Oklahoma. So now, I've come from the land of mist and snow to the land of mist and snow. My niece and I built a snow dog in the yard. We would have built a man, but the snow was too powdery to stick together. The dog could be made with ice and shovels.

I haven't gotten to enjoy the snow other than that. I didn't bring boots for the snow (my feet were frozen after the dog-making!), and it's too icy underneath it to go walking safely. That's the problem with Oklahoma snow; it usually starts with sleet, which makes it dangerous. Still, there's SNOW, and that's always the best part of Christmas when it happens. It's always magic.

We have to keep driving from place to place, and now it's dangerous. I don't regret the snow, though. It's always my favorite. I love that it's come with me.

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