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  Yesterday I'd completed a major part of my Christmas shopping, wrapped the gifts and packed them into boxes to ship to family and friends in far off places.  For the first time since I'd turned the calendar page, a small wave of relaxation washed over me.  I felt even better when my husband, Barry, volunteered to help me mail the packages.  We loaded them into my car, enjoying the camaraderie of such a mundane task.  Heading to the UPS store, we passed revelers in the street along the way - young people in Santa hats ready to party, a seasonal reminder of the evening ahead when Christmas lights would sparkle and the bars and restaurants along McKinney Avenue here in Dallas would be packed with warm bodies.  How wonderful to live out a bit of the old Christmas adage of: "Eat, Drink and be Merry!"  After all, the night was free for us too.  A major part of the pressure I'd been feeling to get things done was gone.  We could have gone out.  In fact, we'd talked earlier about seeing a movie.  A nice, quiet romantic dinner with just the two of us had even crossed my mind.  I would slip into a black dress and pick someplace special.

     It didn't quite work out that way.  Taking advantage of having a Saturday afternoon together, we found outselves allowing small dog, Charlotte, to take us for a walk around the neighborhood.  By the time we'd visited the outdoor cats around the B&B, and chased the squirrel in the Live Oak tree on the corner, we circled around and made our way home.  Walking back to my work space, I lit a pine-scented candle and got busy with my writing while Barry took Charlotte down the hall to the bedroom to read and nap.  When the afternoon light had all but faded, I pushed back from my desk and plugged in the Christmas tree lights.  Soon, the fire was burning and I cracked the terrace door for a stream of thin air.  Taking a moment to sink into the couch, surrounded by the lights of the Christmas tree and the glow of the fire, I felt balanced again.  Not long after that we were throwing balls for Charlotte to chase and hanging around the kitchen.  The urge to go out had passed.  Instead, Barry went out and got me my favorite veggie-burger and we watched CNN Hero of the Year which never fails to elicit a tear or two from me.

     As I snuggle in my husband's arms, it hits me how precious these simple moments are.  These are the things in our lives that don't cost any money, yet mean so much.  I realized that simplicity and balance are objectives that I must strive for, especially during this crazy, busy holiday season.  A night like this is restorative, and, I have to remember it's what makes me happiest.

     One of my favorite writers Edith Wharton once said:  "There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."  Tonight I choose to be the mirror. 

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