“Oh, this is my favorite book!” exclaimed Giselle, as she snuggled up next to me on Anna’s sofa to listen to The Night Before Christmas. Tom and I were spending Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at their home.
“Oh, this is my favorite book of carols!” exclaimed Anna, as she sat down next to me after Luis and Giselle and I had been belting out carols from the sofa while she and Tom chatted with Sebastian in the next room. It was a well-worn Little Golden Book of carols with just the first verses. My voice had cracked and I didn’t keep some of the tunes, but we had had a ball going through the Christmas books and songs. Sebastian had got to share with Tom some of his concerns about his aging mother.
I retired at 8PM, since I had got up at 4 to bake. Tom got the kids settled in bed by instructing them how important it was to keep Foxy’s routine, since Foxy would be in their room. Foxy likes to have her dinner, go out to take her pee, then come up to the room with a treat and settle down at the same time as others are settling down, lights out. So they did go down and out and Tom got to bed by 9.
“You can’t come to Antony’s in your pjs,” I declared to Giselle at 12:15 the next day. She had been too busy playing with her new Paw Patrol to be bothered about changing. “Luis is coming with us and there’s not enough room in the backseat for you with Luis and Foxy.”
But in the end Giselle did come with us, fell asleep in the back seat with Luis and Foxy, and spent the rest of the day at Antony’s in her pjs.
“Isn’t it dangerous?” Karen wondered at the dinner table. She was asking about Anna’s plan to take her kids to do inline skating this week. I learned that “roller blading” is a brand name. “We’ve done it before,” Anna explained. And in the end Karen made plans to bring her kids with them today. I learned that Toni had grown up ice skating on a pond near their house since she was in pre-school. So her kids have grown up doing it also. “Ice skating is actually easier than inline skating,” commented Dexter.
“This is a very good book,” exclaimed Toni, as she opened The Underground Railroad. Of course she had read it already. Imagine trying to get a book for Toni that she hasn’t read. Antony was happy to get Hillbilly Elegy, Jubilee was ecstatic to get Sorcerer’s Stone, illustrated, and Dexter seemed very happy with March, volumes 1-3. Jubilee was thrilled to get the book about the making of Hamilton, for her birthday.
“Yoga will help you stay upright. It’s all about lifting yourself up,” said Anna, as we reviewed a quick zumba combo I had tried to follow her with. She had used a little wireless speaker, which I had never seen before, connected to the playlist on her phone. We also discussed the various advantages of squatting.
“Karen has a squatty pot,” Antony commented. “Isn’t it in the way?” I asked Karen, and she assured me it wasn’t. “It’s designed to scoot back under.” I didn’t know Karen had one, though my physical therapist has recommended I get one. Antony had seen Karen’s when he spent the night a while back. “I’ve tiled the shower since you were there,” she told him. “Classy orange glass.”
“I get a little per lesson; enough to make it worthwhile,” Anna replied to Antony’s query about her teaching at the Y. “That’s about what I get by teaching,” commented Antony about his graduate course on activism. I was glad they are both teaching their passion.
Back and forth. ordinary comments, easily shared. The way family get-togethers should be, I think. No put-downs, nothing too deep or isolating for some, nothing controversial, but information shared. We learned from Antony that Monopoly was originally designed to help people realize how bad capitalism is. Karen didn’t know that Hamilton is the rage on Broadway, so Sebastian played one of its main songs for us, from his phone.
“I play Balderdash with my friends on the phone all the time,” Dexter commented, as we sat down for a game after Karen and Anna’s family had left. I came in last, since it took me a couple of turns to catch on, like voting for my own definition and stumbling on reading out the words of Antony’s definition, thereby giving away that it was not correct. I took some flack for being an English major and having trouble with some of these strange and weird words in the English language. I thought I had learned some new words, but now I can’t even remember any of them. It was fun, though.
Dexter kept some of the apple pie and brisket I had brought, and we came home with bits of the rest of the feast. “We’ll do the white elephant gift exchange on Monday the second,” Toni said as we left. “Karen and Anna and I worked it out.”
“Nobody got up angry and left the room,” commented Tom as we reviewed the day on the way home. “A good Christmas.”