Crowding my coveted kitchen counter space are two seasonal candles, a headless nutcracker that needs mending, a doll’s dish full of random game pieces and dice, two cans of snow that we are afraid to reconstitute since a protective covering is mentioned in the instructions, a large stack of unopened mail and two small stocking gifts which did not find their way upstairs to be packed by my 10-year-old granddaughter.
The kids’ play area is covered in pillows, Jenga pieces, ten nutcrackers in various states of repose, a basket of nativity figures, and a manger scene turned over on its side. The baby Jesus is out in the snow in the miniature village scene, trading places with Minnie and Mickey who are now part of the Nativity. Our droopy Christmas tree looks like the Grinch left it here.
The revolving wheel for my microwave tray is MIA. Even though it looks a lot like a flying saucer, no small children are ‘fessing up to absconding with it.
In the last two weeks, 7 children under 10 ( 3 of them 2-year-olds) and 8 extra adults have been at my house most of the time, and for most of the meals! It has taken a bit of a toll on the house, the refrigerator, and on any sense of order. But boy has it been fun!
Tomorrow the last of the families leave, and normality will eventually return. Years ago when I was confronted with the chaotic mountains of toys, books, clothing and assorted paraphernalia when our crates were unpacked all over the house on arrival in Singapore, my Malay helper Aminah wisely told me, “Slowly, slowly.” Simple and very memorable words which have come in amazingly handy so often in my life.
Sometimes January turns out to be my favorite month, which probably betrays my introvert tendencies. I love to get everything in the house clear and clean, wiped free of distractions. I like to think, not plan, see what is there, not envision what I must do. I love that the weather usually forces indoor time. Here it is often foggy, and I like to wrap the day around me like a warm sweater, enough in its quiet beauty.
So, slowly, slowly, all the mess, decorations, and clutter will disappear into the attic/garage/trashcan. And amazingly next year the Friday after Thanksgiving, I will open my boxes of Christmas things with joy and anticipation. What wondrous powers of transformation are available to us humans!