Over the weekend X had the kids and I took the opportunity to clean up the damage wrought by the rampaging bug. Mountains of laundry, bucket and brush and liberal applications of Lysol on every surface within upchuck range. Hey, I'm not Felix Unger compulsive (the random stacks of CDs and books are the least of it) but as I've travelled this single-dad road, I've learned that maintaining order on the fly is a great way to keep the Health Department out of my hair and greatly reduces the risk of broken ankles. Believe me, I'm not so much fastidious as efficient.
So I'm writing this with heavy heart as I look at the boxes of Christmas decorations calling me to construct a massive kid-magnet that will, once built, emit shreds of cheery detritus that will give this place the permanent appearance of a frat house the morning after a Mardis Gras party. Replace cigarette butts, beer cups, and various discarded under garments with smashed lights, dismembered ornaments and shreds of packaging and the comparison fits. That and my head hammered with a hangover-worthy pain that will endure until well into 2005.
When we put up the tree and string the lights and put up the decorations, sure, it will be my pleasure to watch the exitement of my brood and I'll be certain to stand back and do my "remember this, remember this, remember this" mental exercise wherein I take a psychic snapshot of the moment. That snapshot will carry me through the rest of the insanity of the season and may even prevent me from adding an extra shot of rum to the eggnog. Christmas things, like Trix, are for kids but Dad gets to watch it all go down and if there's any joy in the season for me, it's revisting the snapshots I have so carefully filed in my memory banks.
Really, I don't need any pontification about "the true spirit of the season", all that self-righteous goody two-shoes hokum that has done nothing to stop a fist-fight over a parking space at the mall. If you look at the history of Christmas, it's been a PR scheme from the beginning, what with the Church appropriating a pagan holiday for the sake of boosting its numbers. Seems to me nothing has changed. So you can save your sermon for someone who stomachs it, stick it in your creche along with the kitschy non-semitic looking figurines and plastic farm animals with their 60-watt glow. I know what the spirit of the holidays is and it's letting my children's enthusiasm sweep me up and forget that I'm hip-deep in gilded green and red garbage.
Fa la la la la.