Tanned Princess

Posted on 16 December 2004

My Gill is home, looking like an exotic tanned princess, towering over me, and I can’t stop smiling. Yesterday, we decided to decorate the house for the festive season and went to the florist shop and bought two red poinsettas, a small tree that comes up to my shoulder – Gill wanted it small – and a tiny wreath for the front door. We then went to the craft store and bought a stick wreath and a red feather pheonix, brought it home, interwined ivy around the edge, perched the pheonix on an inner edge beside a gold bow, and hung it over the fireplace, I then downloaded Hans Christian Anderson’s story of the pheonix and propted it beside the wreath. On Friday we will go to Ikea and buy dozens of red candles.

In the evening, I drove Gill up to UBC to spend the evening with her best friend, Shirin. I wonder how my young woman feels knowing that she is loved by her parents and brothers. I wonder what a difference it would have made to my life if my parents had been outwardly demonstrative.

After dropping Gill I went round to my sister Bev’s and only my father was there. He made me a cup of tea and served me Irish bread (baked by my mother) and we sat and talked. He said he feels fortunate with his daughters and despairs a little over his only son who this year went through a dirty court battle with his estranged wife and is now in the process of buying a house so they can live together again. Before I left, my dad asked me to take the support hose off his legs that helps bring the swelling down and so I kneeled at his feet and following his instructions, slowly pulled the tight elastic down and inside out and off his legs.

This white-haired man who I was often terrified of as a child has grown smaller, appears to me like a lost soul. When I asked him what he would like for Christmas, stating that I did not want to buy “things”, he said that he would like to go to Cafe de Paris for good food, wine, and conversation. This I can do.

I love when Christmas-giving is so simple. I don’t want to rush around the shops spending too much money on gifts that will be forgotten before the year is out. I remember working with a woman who was against Christmas, hated the idea that most buy a surplus of gifts on this occasion. She proudly said that she refused to do it, said she bought those she loved gifts throughout the year. She criticized me for buying into the season.

I agreed that people, me included, do go a little crazy at this time of year but still there is something nice about having an occasion to think of others and to try to find some token or some way of expressing affection. Christmas is like a string of birthdays tied together – a celebration of lives together. Gill came home because it is Christmas. My children will gather at our table and feast together on the 25th because it is Christmas. We’ll probably sit together on Christmas Eve and watch “A Christmas Carol” with Alstair Sim that I never grow tired of. We’ll all extend ourselves believers and disbelievers simply because it is “Christmas.”

Rob says I’m mellowing. I’m like Scrooge after his transformation. So be it. I intend to rejoice with my family and friends. Who knows what next year will bring.

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