We all have our priorities, our goals, here in the new house. For me, it’s Christmas. I am unpacking my countdown – and instead of a red and green construction paper chain, one link ripped each morning (or each night), it’s a box; it’s several boxes; it’a room, a theme, an area of our new house. I want all living spaces livable by Christmas, so each day’s progress is measured against this goal. Bedrooms. Living room. Dining room. Kitchen. The office and attic can wait.
This move has been quite the undertaking. My back will tell you. My knees will tell you. My waning patience, all the lost details of my life, the missing focus, the ticker-tape of to-do’s scrolling through my every waking moment – will all tell you. My friends, with whom I’ve hardly spoken of anything else – they’ll tell you, too.
My daughter’s priority is also Christmas. It is her favorite holiday. Last night, she sped through her homework (Bless her teacher this week for assigning so little!) so she would have time to open the four giant Christmas bins, display snowmen and reindeer on the mantle of our new faux fireplace, and line up our ceramic Santa train on the floor of our new sunroom – where we will ultimately set-up our fresh tree, three days before Christmas.
My partner’s priority has been our books. Books make our house a home. She unpacked books into the antique barrister’s bookcase we acquired in London, which is now the centerpiece of our living room. We then artfully arranged books in two basement bookcases, making them into partial walls that mark off semi-private guest space. We even tried to put a bookcase in our new bedroom but it was too crowded. So we put on our shoes, tipped it on its side, carried it outside, down the porch stairs and into the basement, where for a moment, we weren’t entirely sure we’d be able to tip it back up and clear the pipes jutting out of our basement ceiling – but we did. Just. And the two of us – at 10 a.m. the first morning in our new house, after our daughter’s holiday concert and before my in-laws’ arrived in town, only halfway into our first cups of coffee – cheered. We laughed. We hugged. Relieved.
So now our beautiful bookshelf is tucked into a corner of our new basement, holding photo albums and beach towels. Color. Sentiment. It makes me laugh a little when I see it. There. Right next to the water heater.
Kelly’s next priority, thankfully, was the kitchen – where she and her mom prepared our first home-cooked meal: Cheese ravioli, homemade marinara sauce with capers, French rolls, and tossed salad. Yum! We ate in a dining room absent of cardboard boxes. It’s been a long time.
Afterwards, our little girl read stories in her new bedroom, sang songs and said prayers with Grandma, and handed Grandpa a plump stuffed Santa for the living room chair.
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.
May yours, if you celebrate, be warm.
And cozy. With books and song.
And full to the brim with love.