Giftmas is approaching quickly. I am feeling merry and cheerily invested in what is as likely to be a solitary holiday as not; there is no certainty in my planning these days, and I am learning to be okay with that. It is in the planning that my own comfort lies, and in clear communication and expectation-setting when plans begin to shift, or go sideways unexpectedly. Each of life’s disappointments, hardships, and changes open my eyes to some new perspective or opportunity, a little like a holiday advent calendar.

Let it snow? Sure, why not? Or don't - that's okay, too.

Let it snow? Sure, why not? Or don’t – that’s okay, too.

Last night was wonderfully merry, and definitely my idea of a festive holiday season. My early Giftmas present arrived on my doorstep, and when I got home one of my neighbors brought it over; he’d taken it in knowing I was not home. I had no time to open the box before a small posse of my former colleagues from another company (and dear friends) stopped by for some holiday cheer and catching up on things.  We enjoyed a (rare treat for me) glass of sherry together, and hung out sharing anecdotes, and generally enjoying a couple precious hours together. I miss those guys; seeing them every day was the best part of that particular job. It’s always been the people that matter most, though I didn’t always understand that. 🙂

Eventually, alone again in my quiet sanctuary on the edge of a marshy meadow, fire reduced to glowing embers, I opened the box. I cried happy tears that couldn’t be held back. I ran my fingers along the glossy black enameled lines of the new mixer. Some feminist, right? Standing in my kitchen in fuzzy spa socks, caressing a kitchen appliance, crying happy tears. I laughed out loud, still weeping with joy. Down to the tiniest detail, that man loves me. Fuck, I hope I am truly worthy of such profound emotion.

This mixer is black… it replaces a beige one, a color that was, at the time, a compromise; I had wanted a white one, then. My traveling partner ordered this new mixer, standing in my kitchen while we talked of other things. He chose one that matches my current appliances, understanding my aesthetic. He may even have understood that there is significance in how very “opposite” the glossy black is in my eyes – a gift given truly from a place of love, utterly the opposite in every way to the off-white mixer, which was given out of obligation and delivered into a relationship characterized by violence, violation, and destruction. (Although I loved the old mixer for its exquisite functionality and utility and purpose, every time I used it old damage and pain would surface to fill my consciousness again…over decades.) This morning, I stood in the kitchen making my coffee, smiling at the beautiful black mixer on the counter, alluring, promising good times in the kitchen, and reminding me only of love.

This morning the apartment is filled with music. There’s housekeeping to be done; my Traveling Partner is planning to be over tonight. The mixer stands ready for adventures in baking, and I have a stack of cookbooks next to me that I began flipping through last night. I look at them, and smile, and somewhere in a dark corner one of my demons lays down and dies, as happy tears slide past my smile. “I’m free!!” something inside me shouts with joy. I’m not sure quite what, or quite why.  I’m okay with feeling this good in this moment.

Today is a good day to be merry. Giftmas is almost here. Today is a good day for giving, and a good day for loving. Baking holiday treats may not change the world, but they’ll sure make the house smell wonderful!  😀