Awake with the first light of morning spreading its way through the opaque curtains. Bean in his red footie snowman pajamas nestles into the nook of my neck for one final snuggle before announcing his desire to roust the world and investigate every corner of it.
DH and I pass him of to his grandmother and take a shower like we used to in college, together, bumping elbows, kissing, grinning. We join the others in the kitchen with damp hair and pour cups of coffee. I make scones, crumbling the butter with the flour until it feels like wet sand. A sprinkle of cream and raw sugar on the top of each will make them sweet and brown in the oven.
Later everyone is on the couch opening presents almost simultaneously. It is a blur of red and patterned paper. Bean gets a little Radio Flyer wagon and his grin couldnâ€™t be wider when he figures out how it works. He spends the rest of the morning as a battering ram, pushing the cart around the room at a careening pace, grinning from ear to ear. All the unwrapping leaves me breathless, and Bean exhausted. By 9:30 we curl up in bed again. He naps, and I look out the window, watching blackbirds and wondering about the remarkable warp and weft that makes family.
In the late afternoon DH calmly descends upon the kitchen and pulls together an exquisite meal almost single handedly: turkey breast stuffed with prosciutto, sage, apples and rosemary; garlic mashed potatoes, sautÃ©ed asparagus, cran-rasberry sauce, and sausage stuffing. I put some funky French street-performance inspired music on the stereo, dance with the baby, and make a salad with red leaf lettuce, pomegranate, asiago cheese and apples.
There are of course the moments of raised eyebrows when the siblings-in-law act the way they always do: condescending and critical. But we leave it at that, diluting the tension with the fact that we are together. This is family.
By dinner Bean is in the throws of teething agonyâ€”his second top tooth is cutting through. During dinner he sits in my lap and bangs his spoon on his highchair which he refuses to sit in. I gulp my food, feeling guilty. A late dinner has put us past his normal bedtime. I run the bath, but forget to stop the drain so all the hot water runs out. I remember in time to get two inches of luke warm water in the bottom of the tub, but Bean doesnâ€™t seem to noticeâ€”- heâ€™s too obsessed with the full length mirror along the wall of the tub and kisses his reflection.
By the time he finally is asleep my throat hurts and I make tea. Days like this fill my heart to bursting with the ups and downs of being a part of the small group of people that make me whole. With the tug of longing for my own family: my sisters, my mom. With the wonder at my small boy who suddenly has four teeth and is almost walking. With wide love I have for DH, who can still after seven Christmases make me giddy for this holiday just by association.