I hope you survived the holidays, that they were better than expected, and if not, that you’re happy they’re behind you, and we can move ahead into a new year.
I’ve been busy. My children were home for ten days, which was absolutely wonderful; we had a good time together. And although we all dreaded this Christmas, as the first one without their father, we got through it, and it turned out to be much sweeter than expected, with a few tears and many bittersweet memories, and some real fun too. (We played games at the dinner table on Christmas Eve this year, with some fairly rude prizes, and laughed a lot. Irreverence and laughter was the perfect antidote to sadness, and carried the day.) And being together as a family was a real blessing.
Since then, I have been working very hard on a new book, and doing a huge amount of writing, which I usually do at this time of year.
I don’t have any important news to share with you, and am deep in my work, as I always am at this time of year. And I don’t know why, but I remembered a Christmas story tonight from a few years ago, and thought I’d share it with you. It made me laugh out loud, remembering the moment.
Shopping always relaxes me (even at a hardware store or a drug store, and I’m in heaven at a shoe store, even if I only buy a pair of sneakers. Shoes always cheer me up. And no, the story on the internet about my having 6,000 pairs of shoes is not true—-although I wish I did. But yes, I do like shoes.), in any case, I like to shop and there is a lovely store in New York where I buy really nice sheets every few years, and tablecloths. It’s an Italian store, and they have really pretty things. And usually, on Christmas, they send me a small gift, a little baby pillow for my head, with a pretty pillow case, something like that. And I always like what they send me. And because I like to shop, sometimes stores send me a little gift for the holidays. And I am always very well behaved and save all the gifts I get until Christmas Eve, and open them then. So even if I get a gift from a store, I don’t open it until Christmas, and I save my little stack of gifts until it’s okay to open them. I don’t cheat and open them early.
A few years ago, however, I was feeling sorry for myself a week or ten days before Christmas, and my little stack of gifts from friends, people I do business with, and a few stores, was sitting in my bedroom, and I noticed a package in the distinctive wrapping of the Italian linen store in New York that sends me a pretty gift every year. And I lay there in bed, thinking, oh what the hell, who will know…..and I confess: I cheated and decided to open their gift early. It was quite a big box, which was unusual, but I thought maybe they’d been even more generous than usual. And feeling like a sneaky kid, I hopped out of bed and opened their gift about 10 days early. And WOW!!! What a gift!!! It wasn’t a pillow case; it was an absolutely fabulous cashmere (!!!!!) bed cover, in a soft oatmeal beige. I am always frozen at night, so it was really the perfect gift. I was stunned that they had sent me such a beautiful gift. There was no card, just the wrapping from the store, but I hadn’t ordered anything from them, so it was obviously my annual Christmas gift. And it happened to be a freezing cold night, and I put it on my bed and snuggled under it with delight, really pleased at the fabulous gift. Further confessions: When I was married, I was very circumspect in my bedroom, I didn’t smoke in the bedroom, didn’t sleep with my dogs (or no more than one of them, I had two then), didn’t eat in bed, so as not to offend my husband. But living alone, I have developed some really bad habits I enjoy: I smoke in my bedroom, as long as I’m wide awake, read until all hours; if I get hungry, I eat cookies in bed, or whatever else I decide to eat, and often all four of my dogs sleep on my bed, or at least one or two. If I ever live with a man again, I’ll behave, but for now I don’t have to and can do whatever I want. So as soon as I put the gorgeous cashmere cover on my bed, my dogs hopped onto it with delight, and I cuddled up under it, smoking, and even had a cup of soup, and spilled a little on the cover. I made myself right at home with my new bedspread!!!
I thoroughly enjoyed my new bedspread for the next 10 days, til Christmas, the dogs slept on it, I slept under it, I dropped a few ashes here and there, some cookie crumbs, a drop or two of soup. I made myself totally comfortable, and couldn’t imagine how I had lived without a cashmere bedspread until then. It was my largest and certainly most luxurious gift!!! And after I’d been happily living with it for about 10 days, my oldest daughter called me, quite annoyed, and said that she had ordered a cashmere bedspread from that same store, months before, and it had never come. Had it shown up at my house instead? Uh…ummm……bedspread??? CASHMERE bedspread?…..hmmmm….uh oh. I suddenly realized that my fabulous new gift was not a gift at all, but I’d been happily living on her new bedspread, and there had been nothing on the package to indicate that it was her order, and not a gift for me. Oh…..shit. We were of course talking about the bedspread I had been living with, smoking over, eating on, and that my dogs had come to love too. I was in deep trouble there. My oldest daughter is rabid about smoking, and won’t even be in the same building with it, does not approve of four dogs in bed, and I’m certain that she has never eaten Oreo cookies in bed (she has a husband. Everything is a trade off in life; you either get a husband in your bed, or get to eat Oreo cookies at midnight.). I confessed immediately, told her I had thought it was a gift from the store, and that I had been living with her new bedspread for the past 10 days, and offered to have it cleaned immediately. She was horrified and not happy with me. She assured me that no amount of cleaning would exorcise the smoke, dogs, and cookies, not to mention the soup I had spilled on it (just a little) the first night. And she had waited months for it to come. If she could have seen me happily living on her bedspread, she would have had a stroke. As it was, she wasn’t too happy. The end of the story was that she ordered another one, and I wound up buying the one I had adopted illegally. And to tell you the truth, I love it, and am still living with it, and probably will for years. But if you could have seen me living it up on her bedspread, and my face when she asked if I had seen it…..bedspread??? What bedspread??? Oh THAT bedspread…..you would have laughed too. I still laugh when I think about it. It was expensive when I had to buy it, but well worth it…..and I still chuckle when I see it, and drop a few more Oreo crumbs on it, as my dogs lie happily across the bed, and I smoke while reading a book…..to each his own, and there are more ways than one to get a new bedspread….I would never have bought such an elegant one for myself, but I’m glad I did. Now I’m more careful when I open Christmas gifts, and make sure that they are in fact for me. I hope you liked your gifts this year too!!!
Much love, Danielle