This holiday season, our celebration has been somewhat compressed, and I've found this to be generally a good thing. Our semester was pushed closer to Christmas by the strike. Emma's semester finished with a week of various exams (in preparation for a week of final exams when she returns to school . . . what the heck is wrong with our school system, anyway?) so we were all done with school at about the same time.
The week was crowded: Rob and Emma took off to finish shopping on Monday, we went out to a tree farm to get our tree on Tuesday (and Emma came down with a cold), Rob managed to get decorations up on the mantle on Wednesday (while I sat and watched because I hadn't slept the night before for no particular reason), and finally on Thursday I put the ornaments on the tree (after getting a good nights sleep and suddenly having enough energy for both of us). By this evening we had stocked up on a few groceries, made an oh-so-traditional Christmas bacon-and-spinach quiche, and finally had a few presents wrapped and placed under the tree. (For the kitties to play with, at least that appears to be their interpretation.)
But this evening, after spending a little time FaceTiming with my family in Ann Arbor, I was struck by how happy I am to be here, in this place, with these people. (And cats. Because, cats.)
I love Christmas. It is a reminder to slow down and appreciate the fact that we all need to help each other in order to survive in the darkest time of the year, and by proxy, the darkest times of our lives. As adults, we express this by making a special effort to be kind and generous, and I've been the recipient of this at places like the grocery store and post office. Honestly, I'm lucky enough in my life to be the recipient of this all year long, but I think it's a good idea to set aside some time each year to be especially conscious of how we treat other humans along our journey. Our interactions with other humans are the one thing that make our lives so rich, so worthwhile.
Whether it's colleagues I never knew and had the chance to talk with while walking the picket line, making new friends while wandering through a local garden, donating money to the Syrian refugees after being touched by the stories I read via HONY, or meeting new people while re-labeling cans at the local food bank, this is most important to me: humanity.
Here's wishing all the humans I interact with are, like me, lucky enough to have other humans in their lives to care about them and make their lives a little brighter.
And cats, of course :-)