I‘ve of course heard of this Elf On The Shelf business, where you buy a specific elf, then each day, a parent is to reposition this wooden freak of nature in a surprising situation: in the bathroom sink with marshmallow “bubbles;” strapped to a wall, held hostage by some militant action figures; or, I suppose, for those lesser parents, on a shelf. Sometimes the elf has an activity planned. He’s found inside a mixing bowl with a recipe card for sugar cookies. This Elf, parents threaten, reports back to the big bearded jolly man. He’s a fun threat on a shelf, a threat that also makes for great memories. It’s a mixed message, but I sort of understand.
I’m tempted to go there, but I fear that his presence will threaten me. It will be another to-do on the list, something else to distract me, another thing I’ll need to plan, need to click my way through Pinterest in search of ideas to thrill. Am I missing something? I really don’t know how this Elf works, and why I’d want one in my house. Does anyone know?
In the meanwhile, I’m both exhausted and excited. My tree is up, the mistletoe hung, the wreath pinned to the door, with a seasonal doormat. Home is homey and snuggle-friendly. Some gifts have been ordered and wrapped, more to-do’s on the list, more of more of more. I don’t know what I weigh. I keep having dreams of ex-boyfriends, men who never wanted me enough, not until I was someone else’s. I’m trying to cut sugar out of my diet, since none of my clothes fit. Cutting sugar out of your life turns you into no one’s friend fast.
Thanksgiving was a gorge fest. Next year, I will limit myself to one stuffing made with Challah, mushrooms, walnuts, apples, celery, onion, golden raisins and sage. I will make the Corn Pudding. I will make vanilla-roasted pears, and the sugar-pecan brie (“Erica, you have to have Stephanie teach you how to make this.” It’s that good, and that easy). This year I had no time to print coloring pages for the kids, no elaborate Thanksgiving banner, no witty quotes or sayings spread across the table. There wasn’t time. The to-do and to-buy lists were too long. I spent way too much money on table decor and pie. Next year, there will be pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and my Not Derby Pie (devoured). No Lady M Crepe Cake, no deep cherry pie with almond (as good as it is). It’s overkill.
December 26, we head to Austin to celebrate New Year’s! The kids in tow, we’ll visit with Norma and our friends, live a life we once loved, eat and play, reconnect. And it will feel as if we never left. It’s amazing to me the way that works, that we can so easily slip back into a life, know the curves of the road, the length of a stoplight, pick up with old friends as if Florida never happened, as if we didn’t now live and love in New York.
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