Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Drama at Stoney Creek

I blame la sorellina ... she started the whole thing. It's all her fault.

We spent Christmas eve at my brother's home in Stoney Creek, a pretty little suburb east of Hamilton where he lives. The drive was slow as the roads were tricky and clogged with Christmas visitors but we made it in one piece. J fell asleep in the car and I was speaking about lu Papa, how hard he worked, how young he was ... R said gently, "You are very emotional lately". Yes, I had to concur. I was, I am.

The Italian tradition is to make seafood on Christmas eve. When we arrived, la sorellina F was busy making a delicious seafood risotto at the oven; my brother C and s-i-l B were scurrying around making other preparations. They laid out a lovely feast for all of us: nonna, the three sibs and their partners, and three granddaughters. The girls were being alternatively charming, naughty or occupied with the things that I, a 9 year old, and J and M, a couple of 12 year olds occupy themselves with: their cell phones, texting, their Nintendo DSs, the internet, music, the puppy Frankie, etc ... The house is beautifully decorated to the hilt.

For dinner we had grilled salmon, sole, seafood risotto, grilled vegetables, pizza, rapini, everyone contributed a dish. Homemade cookies, lemon streusel coffee cake, lemon tart, homemade brownies, chocolates for dessert. The table was gorgeously set and festive (thank you s-i-l!) and the perfect size for the ten of us.

La sorellina gave me a Christmas card with an old B&W photo in it: F, as a toddler of perhaps three, with lu Papa at the beach, kissing. It is a great photo which gives us tremendous pleasure to see, to remember. I don't care what you say sistah, you were a cute baby. Okay here go the waterworks ... I had been having a moody, nostalgic evening thus far and that tipped me over the edge. As you likely know, lu Papa has been much on my mind lately. Keep it together I thought. There are children present.

I think I am undergoing a sort of post-baby blues feeling since the publication of the book ... joy, sadness, nostalgia, morbid sensitivity, overwhelming love for one's family, oh, pretty much everything under the sun. It's intense and disconcerting. And I like intensity, I revel in intensity, and I have always had a close relationship with intensity, but inconsolable weeping at the drop of a hat? Okay here I draw the line. Intensity and I have to set up some boundaries here or we can't have a relationship.

So I'm trying to stay level and joyful and positive ... the three girls are anxious to open gifts and were badgering us all night long to open them. After dinner we agree to do so. We start, halfway through, I think when J is opening her aunt's gifts, J turns to me and says something to the effect that, "Oh no, I just realized that I will never be an aunt ..." in a mournful way and comes up to me, sorrowfully, tears in her eyes. We have had our infertility woes, our adoption woes, J's only child issues. J suffers too a great deal. I am trying to console her then I get started ... but all the family sees is me with tears streaming down my face.

"What's going on? What's going on?" people start to ask. The family is getting concerned. "Nothing, nothing." I try and reassure J. We sit down and compose ourselves and carry on. Mildly perturbed and puzzled, my sister tells me later that the family thinks I don't like my gifts. Oh my, am I considered to be that much of a shallow idiot that I would do that to my family - burst into tears in front of them over a thoughtless gift? But I don't find this out until after Christmas much to my embarrassment.

The night proceeds ... there is Christmas music, drinks, merrymaking, my s-i-l's relations drop in one by one. A vicious game of Mexican Train with dominos ensues where all four of us (me, brother, sister, mother) are yelling at each other. Well not so much the sister who seems cowed by how aggressively my mother and brother are playing: cajoling, bullying, advocating cheating, berating a weak play ... nice famiglia nice, competitive much? Husband R and the girls are enjoying themselves immensely watching us. We will all take turns playing.

A nice evening. Then near relation M shows up with his new baby - a beautiful pink doll with golden red hair and a sweet disposition, asleep. It is absolute bliss to hold her as she sleeps. You guessed it.

I think I need to have another talk with my old friend intensity.

1 comment:

J said...

Mommy this is so lovely and sad. I understand that you are sad, it's very difficult bu i LOVE my life and I dont want it to change! It is great. thank u for everything.

J

Your daughter