Normal day of half-work for a New Year’s Eve. No one really seems to want to be there. Three grandchildren with us. Littlest one still not himself and looking for one-one attention and cuddles. The other two happy as always being gaming-brothers together in the ethernet. Half-hour slots with breaks in between have eliminated the “tablet tantrums” that used to happen.
Dinner with our eldest daughter and son-in-law (the creators of four of our grandchildren). A lovely tradition that begins at 5.00pm and finishes on or before 9.00pm. The only place in town where saying goodnight at that hour is allowed or expected. A full English – vegan and meat – is the traditional fare. As is playtime with the wee ones before bed, then a couple of drinks for us big ones, a plate of “full English” food, a good chat – and then a warm goodbye and home!
This year I added earplugs to my night-time routine. Mrs Paul sleeps alongside my COPD mask and air-pump, sometimes my eye-mask (summer-time especially), and last night my holiday ear-plugs. We are the original romantics! But to balance this equation of romance Mrs Paul has a twelve-hour sleep need not always fulfilled – but alongside my 6-8 hours hers is something of an everyday imposition on my lifestyle.
And joy of joys! I woke at 4.30am after 6.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep! Never heard even one massive display “shock and awe” firework (nor the ongoing – why such a long “ongoing”? – firework noises right through the early hours). Now THAT is a result which puts all these tsunami of repetitive covid conversations into context!
So to today!
Decs-down-day. Reclaiming our home from the jaded magic of Santa for the daily magic of life and loving – just with more floorspace and surfaces once again available for our everyday stuff.
Little grandson has been asking to help with our house clearance. His tree disappeared last Monday. His cousins’ tree the day after. And he is confused why ours is still up and his isn’t. Same as his confusion over Christmas (for all of us and the world) and a birthday (just for him). He thought (and thinks) they are one and the same – and then doesn’t – and then does. At three-coming-on-four it’s an easy confusion to have.
His wee brother has no such confusion. At ten months of living “little brother” became an official (very cautious and risk-averse) toddler this Christmas – just like his older brother two Christmases ago.
Still remember that Christmas Day like yesterday – two flaky steps became three – then five – then seven – then the whole length of our Christmas Grotto living room.
Now THAT is the magic of Christmas – not the pressies and decs – not the food and drink – not even the religious or secular traditions and beliefs. The magic of Christmas is a few flaky first steps – is love without condition, without expectation, and without transaction. Love that is in the moment without regard for the past or the future. All expressed in a few ever-increasing steps – that look of growing confidence – and that focused concentrated expression morphing into a huge beaming smile (in all of us)! A spontaneous glow of warmth and love spreading within-across all of us in that place of magical moments.
And his wee brother this year the same – but (thankfully) not the same.
Little brother doing his thing without the glare of scrutiny. Little brother who potters cautiously at home with only our daughter’s camera to capture and share the magic. Who reverts to rapid-crawling when in the public eye. Who resists our invitations for him to perform. And who seeks the safety of my two-big-arms when us big ones don’t get his reticence.
(but who spreads just as much magic in doing magic in his own way – just as his older brother did in his own way)
So from me to you – look for magic in everyone and everything for magic is to be found in everyone and everything.
I was taught to see “the bad” both by the world and religion. Still am if I allow. It has taken me years to unteach myself that teaching (and to resist it still). Which is why I now think there is a reason The Christmas Story celebrates a baby. Because speaking only for myself …
When I found that innocent non-judgemental, non-transactional, non-conditional way of living … THAT is when I found magic in everyone and everything. Even in the shittiest moments once they have passed – and none of us are immune from shitty moments or their aftermath.
So to you from me a very Happy New Year.
This year just ended has been magical and shitty just as living is and must be. For without the one how we would know the other? And the year to come – this day to come – this very moment to come – has exactly that same promise. All I have to do is to look in the right places with the right heart. A baby’s heartbeat as mine allows me see you and you and you and you (over there looking sad) to be magical in every moment.
Have a wonderful day today. Because after 364 of them … we will ALL have had yet another magical year!