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Dear Diary – The raging inferno of my dying youth has been wreaking havoc for weeks, so on Christmas Eve, I wore my ugly Christmas t-shirt. Just the thought of an ugly Christmas sweater made me break out in sweat.

So did baking pie. I baked a green tomato pie using green tomatoes that were stored in my parents’ freezer. The foil on the top said “Happy Thanksgiving 2020!” I soaked the raisins in rum, which sparked a series of “Jenn’s in the rum” jokes.

And I alarmed Youngest Son when I passed him in the living room and shared that “I’m done decorating Dad’s log”. What I meant was that I was finished decorating his birthday cake, a yule log cake, but you can imagine the terrible mental image I painted for him.

Hubby and Big Guy arrived in time for dinner. It was a slow drive because Hubby’s car was making rude noises on the highway, and he had to take the “scenic route”. I could finally tuck in for a long winter nap with my favourite peeps.

With no little ones in the house we slept in and took the morning slow. I broke out my first German stollen.

We opened gifts and I finally got to see what this was:

We exchanged gifts before lunch, which included silly socks, goofy t-shirts, even a whopee cushion…because the joke never gets old. I could finally give Auntie M her new gnome; I was having too much fun with it.

Up to gnome good!
Hanging with my gnomies

Don’t worry – Auntie M’s gnome was quarantined prior to the holidays and properly masked with a handmade, blue tissue-paper mask.

Even though we thought we’d never need to eat again, the dinner hour arrived. With leftovers laid out, one by one, we fixed a plate and enjoyed round #2. We also enjoyed a rousing game of Scattergories, which was particularly hilarious with our tryptophan-induced brains.

The day ended with a bang! I asked had asked Eldest Son to help Auntie M take her things to car, then I went in my room to put on my fuzzy jammies. Nice Mama! It had been raining all day but we didn’t realize how much it had iced over. I heard the crash from the far side of the house and I knew it was bad. Both Auntie M and Eldest Son had fallen, but Auntie M wasn’t getting up. Dad is a retired firefighter and we let him take the lead. I called 911 and we paced inside, while Eldest Son and Dad kept Auntie M company and scraped ice off cars and the sidewalk. When they went to move her vehicle so ambulance could park closer, the doors were frozen shut. They also wandered carefully, with flashlights, looking for her car keys, her purse, and the crockpot lid, which all went flying! Thankfully, the hospital wasn’t busy and Auntie M was not seriously injured. She was sent home at midnight. Dad and Eldest Son made sure Auntie M and her pumpkin car, made it home. She’s badly bruised, and in no hurry to get back out there! I wonder if she’s working on the evil puzzle I gave her…

The rest of the week has been spent sleeping in, watching Harry Potter movies, and eating non-stop. We’ve also played board games. Mom got upset when she spotted someone’s trains on “her” track. It was her train. Eldest Son was given a couple of genuine Guiness and the closest thing we could find for a proper drinking vessel was a flower vase. Boxing Night, we watched Christmas Vacation, my all-time favourite Christmas movie. Right up there with…Die Hard!

These guys really like Cousin Eddie

I also had one final sewing project to complete by the end of the year, which should have been easy peasy. Instead, it took several hours because I’m so talented. I sewed things in wrong and had to rip them out over and over. I spilled warm tea all over the table, and me! Then, with only 1.5 inches left to sew, the machine started to grab and snarl, and make a right mess of it. After multiple stitching and ripping, and with more holes in the fabric than on a tattoo artist, my Dad took the machine apart. Back together again, and with the end so close I could taste it, I started to sew, hit a pin, and snapped the needle.

I finished the bag the next day!

It’s hard to believe that a New Year is right around the corner. I’m not sure yet if we’ll be ringing it in with Eldest Son’s traditional crack of his Terry’s chocolate orange. His girlfriend’s father passed away suddenly from covid; her mother was released from hospital earlier this week. He may be heading home to spend some time with her. If she had called him on Christmas Day and asked him to come, I would have given him my blessing. While there is no better place than with my family around me, I’m well aware that we’re all growing up, and I never want to be an obstacle in my children’s lives. I just pray they’ll still share a slice of their life with me. Afterall, they were once my whole world.

When we took this photo December 31, 2019, I had just quit my job. I had spent November coping with kitchen renovations and December baking up a storm. Youngest Son was facing his Grade 9 first semesters finals, the only ones he’s written to date. Eldest Son was preparing for a career-advancing exam. And my folks were planning their annual trip to Myrtle Beach. We had no idea what was to come…

I still somehow feel like we’ve lost time, 2 years to be exact. As if we have all been hibernating and it’s time for new beginnings and greater adventures. I feel like we should be celebrating the start of 2020, not 2022.

Like we deserve a do-over.

Don’t we? It’s time to re-engage with the great big world beyond our front doors, even if that engagement is a phone call, an email, a handwritten letter. I’m not suggesting we disobey the rules or take unnecessary risks. I never want to put others in harm’s way, but our souls don’t belong to a virus. We can’t let covid hold us hostage any longer. It’s time to resdiscover joy. One day at a time.

Happy New Year! See you in 2022!

The joy of the Lord is your strength

Nehemiah 8:10