Christmas Cold

Vic is finally asleep, lying under a blue blanket, fists lightly curled, hair just a little bit sweaty and alternately sticking to his cheek or sticking straight up and into the sheets. I had to walk him down tonight, like I did last night and the night before that. He’s been sick with the virus that I brought with us on vacation from the office Christmas party and a very unhappy camper indeed, all off his schedule and whatnot.

Tonight we walked three blocks down, to where the street gets cut off by the property of the inn where our parents often stay when they come to visit us here. There was one house with Christmas lights up, the rest quiet and mostly dark, save for lamplight spilling out into the windy darkness. It isn’t cold, but the ground is wet and the wind is blowing, a preface perhaps to more rain to come tomorrow. One house had a tree up, right against the window. Instead of a star or an angel at its peak, there was a bright red Santa hat. I’ve filed that away as a possibility for next year, when we will hopefully have a proper living room in which to erect our tree, and Vic will be old enough to help decorate.

This year, I am quietly tucking our holiday away into the “not such a good memory” box, while resolving not to dwell on the various things that conspired to make my Christmas less than ideal. It might be enough to wrap it up neatly in the “expectations too high” paper and tie it up with a “terribly ill” bow. As Sabs said the other day, I have a fantasy Christmas somewhere in my head, to which I try to match the reality every year. This year, unfortunately, the reality was so far from the fantasy that I’m finding myself looking at the calendar and wishing it were still the 23rd and I still had the holiday to look forward to.

There were some highlights of course. Lake Tahoe is very beautiful and sports many very good restaurants. We had some damn fine Swiss food, some damn fine bar food and some really damn fine, California High Country nouvelle cuisine as well as Sabs’ own extremely tasty home cookin’ (which actually holds a candle to that nouvelle cuisine stuff rather nicely). The boat cruise across the lake was very beautiful too.

But I would have enjoyed all of it a lot more if my head hadn’t felt like Santa’s elves were all trying to ring it like a bell and breathing hadn’t been a chore. It was all I could do to keep up with nursing Vic, that’s how tired I was, yet I kept feeling as if I should try to get out of bed and do more than just lie there and look out at the pretty snow and snippet of blue sky I could see from the window. It’s really terrible to feel holiday guilt when one is bedridden with the Christmas Cold of Doom.

Vic came home loaded with schtuff. So much schtuff my head is still sort of spinning about it. I have to go through everything and put some things away for later — he’s still too young for a good number of the things he got. He got a real kick out of the wrapping paper and ribbons as expected. He didn’t really grok the whole “I’m getting schtuff” concept of course. Next year perhaps, he’ll dig it, given that he’ll be a year and a half old then instead of under a year. Still, I have a very cute picture of him trying to eat the paper off of a gift. He was so earnest about it too. “See mom, I’m helping by gumming this stuff off for you.” Indeed lovey, indeed.

This is neither the worst Christmas ever, nor up there in the good Christmases. My Christmas spirit hasn’t been squashed, but it did get rattled a little bit, so I’m taking this year as a lesson in setting one’s expectations too high, ignoring one’s instincts about holidays and hanging out with sick co-workers.

Tonight, I’m just taking it easy, trying to get over the last of the cold symptoms and putting my feet up to relax a little. Tonight, I may just make myself a cup of tea, and try to let it all go, and bring back my smile and my equanimity and hope for a better holiday next year.