We had a lovely Christmas season this year, although I spent less time on setting the scene, as it were, than I usually do. I was super sick over our Thanksgiving trip to Alabama, a nasty cold that eventually sidelined everyone except my youngest son. FYI, flying on multiple connections with vertigo-inducing fluid in your ear is not fun. So when we returned home I went to bed instead of dragging out the Christmas decorations. I did manage to get the 9 foot tall tree set up by myself a week later, thanks to the steroids prescribed to kill the vertigo, while everyone else was focused on football. But it stood bare in the foyer for almost two more weeks before I convinced the kids to string some lights around it and on Christmas eve, the exchange student hung some ornaments. I had fully intended to go all out this year, wanting to show our friend what Christmas in America is like. I completely failed at that. But I did manage to get everything wrapped and everyone seemed happy with their gifts.
Speaking of gifts, I had warned him, you will get lots of gifts from my family, do not feel like you should reciprocate. You are part of our family, this is how it is. He was deeply burdened by the situation, however, and though I understood his feelings I couldn't stop the Christmas train. I told him to let it go. He laughed, and relaxed and let my family fawn over him on Christmas day.
The day after, we rose early and loaded the truck and drove to Colorado for the week. Everyone skied or snowboarded, except me, I was just along for the ride. I have enough issues just walking in a straight line without my head spinning these days, I didn't need to put myself into the extra physicality of skiing. I could just imagine myself halfway up the lift when the pressure of high altitude kicked on the vertigo light switch - how the F would I get back down the mountain then? Yeah, No thanks. Instead I went for groceries and cooked and hung out in our darling 1960s mountain cottage and sometimes held court at a table in the restaurant at the bottom of the lift. Snow covered teenagers would occasionally swoop in, grab a bunch of food and water, rest for a minute, then head back out to beat the mountain.
The kids loved it. All three of them. My two boys had only ever actually skied here in Kansas City area, at what is really a glorified hill. They'd never experienced skiing in high altitude on a real mountain. The exchange student had skied a few times before. Athletically he's pretty strong, he had no difficulty adapting and conquering the mountain. My kids didn't have the same confidence going in, so they all ended up coming down the mountain separately most of the week. It took them all a few days to find their sweet spot, but on the last day they stayed together and had a blast.
The weather was great. It was sunny and 30s-40s during the day, but when that sun goes behind the mountain it gets chilly, fast. We watched movies and played board games in our snug little cabin. We even saw a moose!
We returned home on New Years Eve, stayed awake long enough to watch the ball drop in NYC an hour early, and called it good.
Welcome to 2017. May the odds be ever in your favor.