The Coast News Group
ColumnsSmall Talk

Small Talk: A gift of discovery

The winter holidays and 2020 are behind us and the new year slides in, still carrying the ancient Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

As I compared it to past holiday gatherings, I realized this quarantined holiday was the simplest, least stressful I have had as a grown-up. It was the final door slamming on my efforts to be my mother. I was trying way too hard, but nobody wanted to be the one to tell me to lighten up. How lucky am I that the fates saw to it?

I’m a little sad I am not the matriarch of large, laughter-and-family-filled holidays, but I needed to birth three or four more young’uns to set that in motion. And who knows? Even with a brood of kids, it might still have turned into a familial bun fight. You just can’t count on that sort of thing.

So, this year we learned things, and it was good. My adult daughter had recently shared that opening gifts with everyone watching and then being expected to emote over said gift has always been absolute agony for her. Instead, I let her call the shots, and we did a kind of every-man-for-himself approach.

There aren’t so many of us that we can’t keep track of who got what with just a little side-eye action. And it was incredibly relaxed. Truly, who knew? I did fix some Christmas morning breakfast, but this year no introverts were forced to sit at a carefully decorated table and pretend to like my egg casserole.

I had also turned every bauble of the holiday decorating over to my creative girl-child and that was about the best idea I ever had. It took longer to get it all in place, and will take longer to dismantle, but it was a good exercise for my OCD and patience.

We celebrated right through the proper 12 days of Christmas, with the decoration boxes not coming out until well after New Year’s. I can see my Irish Anglican Nana nodding her approval.

Sure, I’m hopeful about 2021, but being older and wiser, I do plan to keep my seatbelt buckled. Wishes for a less interesting new year.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who knows life is always a bumpy ride. Contact her at [email protected].