Susie learned about the custom of marking the holiday by ringing a Christmas bell. Both Steph and I–separately and together–told her not to even consider it until 7 a.m.
At the stroke of 7, she did just that. Steph was already awake–she had been checking her E-mail and playing Literati online, so Susie came in clanging the bell, but not in my ear, fortunately for her.
I can empathize with her. On my eighth Christmas, I woke my parents up to do Christmas at 4:30 a.m. After that, for the two Christmases our family was intact, we opened them on Christmas Eve about 9 p.m.
Steph loved her presents from both of us. I got her a new Lorus wrist watch, fuzzy slippers, a DVD of Sunset Boulevard (one of her favorite movies), a robe, and two 5-lb. barbells (she has been working out a lot lately, both at home and at Victory Fitness–a women-only gym–in Whitehall).
Susie loved her horse books, clothes for her American Girl dolls, and especially her new guitar. There was no way we were going to be able to wrap it, so we hid it in the dining room closet and left her little clues around the tree. (Her stocking stuffer included a little envelope with picks in it. Under the tree itself was an envelope with her name on it, signed by Santa, saying that her gift was hidden somewhere in the house.) She was plinking away at it this afternoon, although I think she was a little intimidated by the lesson book and the CD that came with it.
And me? I have the new Thomas Pynchon novel, Against the Day, of which I have read up to about 20 pages. (This is not to be taken lightly. One page of Pynchon requires as much effort and concentration as five pages of most other writers.) Susie gave me a pack of blue Paper-Mate ballpoint pens, and a keyring with my name and a pen on it. Steph got me socks, a hat, and gloves. Not that I have had much need to use them in the last 1-2 weeks! (Today was cold and rainy, so I wore the hat during one of my brief forays out of the house.)
Susie was a little bored by mid-afternoon. I’ve heard about the “post-Christmas letdown,” but I think it’s harder on only children. Once Susie was done dressing her dolls and experimenting with her guitar, there wasn’t much more to do except watch and re-watch the Disney Channel’s holiday offerings. Both Steph and I are only children, so we could understand. All of her friends would be with their families, so trying to find a playmate would be next to impossible.
It’s nearly 8 o’clock, and I have to be at work in 12 hours. Also, I want to write the first entry in the new composition book which will continue my diary. (I don’t know if I’ll have one as famous as Samuel Pepys’ or as long as Arthur Inman’s. But diary-writing is something that is truly “one day at a time,” the mantra of 12-Step groups worldwide.
Hope all my readers had a blessed holiday, and warmest wishes for MMVII!