Before we get rolling for today, I'd like to wish all those celebrating it a happy Kwanzaa.
I know that there are many people for whom today is one of the year's more depressing days. For me, it's the exact opposite: the mad rush is over, the trips to the store are over, and now it's time to just relax and live a little. Time to enjoy the Christmas haul by day and maybe see some folks we don't get to hang out with all the time by night. No, folks, the week between Christmas and New Year's is hardly a letdown for me; actually, it's quite possibly my favorite week of the year. Even in previous years where I've had to spend the days of it processing many (un)happy returns over at Borders, there was still something great about that between-holidays glow.
This year there's no day job, but there are a few more calls for the guy who knows how to hook up electronics than usual. Between my parents and my (all but) in-laws, there are two Kindles, a Wii and a Blu-Ray player that need to make friends with the internet. In the case of the in-laws, this means that there is also a wireless router to get up, running and gregarious. On the one hand, all of this means that the tapestry of obscenity I weaved while wrapping gifts may pale in comparison to the one I'll be knitting over the next few days. More importantly, though, it also means that I get to be the good guy who gets the electronic things whirring, blinking and communicating. All these years after my parks and recreation gigs, I'm still playing Santa in a way. Nothing wrong with that.
Tomorrow should be an interesting one: myself, Rhea and my mother get to ride about an hour and a half up the line into Connecticut to attend my grandmother's 90th birthday party. I don't really know what to expect from this; most of the party guests will likely either be people I haven't seen in decades, or have never met in my entire life. Those who do (sort of) know me will likely still call me Billy, a moniker I declared passé about three days into my Kindergarten career - and also a fair indicator of how close we are. My extended family - to which my adopted mother is not blood-related, thank god - is riddled with alcoholics, bigots and anti-Semites, the latter of which I've always tried to shield Rhea from. So while it's true that my breath is a bit baited about the whole thing, it's also much more true that Grandma doesn't turn ninety every day, not to mention that she's the kind of self-sufficient, still-with-it ninety that refers to her fellow senior citizens as "old ladies." That's the important part, and if there are any good stories that come from it all, then I've had one of this week's posts handed to me on a platter.
But all of that is later, tomorrow, and beyond. Right now, I'm going to excuse myself for the afternoon; after all, there is an entire pile of new toys, games, t-shirts, CDs and DVDs that won't play with, wear, listen to, and/or watch themselves. As I look at it sitting across the room, I'm suddenly very glad that no one in my life is a fan of practical gifts. Sometimes, I think that the most important part of the holidays may just be the acknowledgement that we all need an excuse to just play once in a while.
Time to do just that.