Christmas this year was a whirlwind as usual, but it carried the blessings of tradition and ritual to buffer to the blow of what could otherwise be crazy. The last few years, Dan and I have had Christmas Eve with my mother's family, Christmas morning with his mother's family, Christmas night with my father's family, and the day after Christmas with Dan's father's family. It sounds a little crazy, none of the driving distances are too great. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, there is something to be said for knowing what to expect, for knowing how the day generally goes. We know when to get there, when we should leave to get to the next destination, and what generally used to be pretty stressful became lovely. I was exhausted by the end of it, but I had a lovely time.
Christmas felt extra-special this year for some reason. Perhaps it's because I'm getting older and I can appreciate everything my parents did for me as a child in a whole new light. Perhaps it's because Dan and I kicked things up a notch this year with the Boston Holiday Pops. Perhaps it's because my mother is doing amazingly well and it's a blessing in and of itself how she came alive again to decorate her whole house for Christmas. Perhaps it's because my talent for making peanut butter balls and needhams has matured to a real skill that brings smiles to my friends' and families' faces. Perhaps it's because there is a new baby in the family: my cousin's wonderful new son. Perhaps it's because there was snow on the ground, and nothing can replace a true New England white Christmas. Perhaps it's because I am really happy. Whatever the reason, this year felt special.
Due to a Blizzard (and yes, the capital "b" is purposeful), Dan and I were compelled to drive home a day early. We managed to get all the way to the Mass-NH border before hitting any real snow, and I was able to keep up a pace of 80 mph until somewhere close to the 495 split. At that point, however, we quickly reduced to 40mph, and shortly thereafter, it was 20 mph all the way home. I was truly impressed with the fortitude Boston drivers showed as everybody on the road managed to drive safely. I bore witness to no accidents or sliding cars, unlike previous times driving in poor conditions. Truth be told, this was not the worst weather I've ever driven in -- I didn't even slide around when changing lanes! However, I know that had we delayed our departure a mere 20 minutes, for example, it would have been a different story.
It was just as well that we came home last night. Let's face it, folks, I am not a spring chicken anymore, and extended visits with friends and family, as wonderful as they always are, completely exhaust me and I generally need a day off to stare at the wall and play with my new toys before re-entering the workforce. The drive and the exhaustion didn't put a damper on my sheer bliss about all the snow, though! As soon as Dan and I managed to find a store/restaurant that wasn't closed so we could get something to eat, I put on an extra layer and tromped around in the snow along the bike path next to our apartment. I couldn't help myself but to make a snow-angel.
Today, my plans are to put our new sheets on the bed, play with my new Kindle, and go snow-shoeing along the pike path. There's no place like home.