Around the house

A Diversified Kind of Happy

By Lynn Leissler

For the Independent


One version of insanity occurs in this season when people (mostly women) try, in three to weeks, to squeeze in a year’s worth of entertainment, a total holiday-house decorating, and enough baking to survive a siege. I am one of those women, along with a few friends and my sister. To add to the malady, we add new traditions each year. Our to-do lists grow longer than the greediest kid’s Santa-gimme list.

Then there’s the problem of the stuff we have to keep doing—work, bills, meal preparation, and so much more. Nor does sadness take a holiday. Over the past two weeks, I learned of a death, a heart attack, a stroke, and a cancer diagnosis, all people close enough to me that I ache along with them.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve slogged through ankle-deep snow on a clear day, strained to see a traffic light through the fog, and enjoyed my neighbor’s frosty roof and his crystal-coated shrubs. I’ve hiked in the rain and shed my jacket on a “warm” December afternoon walk.

I’ve hung out with young parents and kids at a family caroling/pizza/game night, thrilled at a concert with classic music before heading across town to a bell choir concert. I shopped, wrapped, and baked to the accompaniment of grand choirs and Bing Crosby. I threw together a pot of soup for a friend who came over to watch a Christmas movie.

If it sounds like I’m rambling, that’s the kind of holiday season it’s been. Preparation and activities, interspersed with a big writing assignment and a looming deadline. Planning for the soon tomorrows, remembering the long-ago yesterdays. Mom, Charlotte and I quipped yearly, with big sighs, “Christmas comes on December 25 this year.” This year Peggy chimed in, though Carroll is always done ahead of time. Is she still our friend? Next year I’ll start earlier. Hmmm…

By the time you read this, the living room will have been littered with wrapping paper, then cleared. We will have enjoyed time with family and friends. I will have taken grandkids Hazel and Alex (13 and 12) to the greasiest of greasy spoons where we dug into a traditional pig out. I mean, breakfast. I’ll have sat and had deep conversation with my sons and daughters-in-law.

And I’ll be on my way home—happy for a good holiday season and full of resolve for the new year.