And

You know, this weather. It’s worth documenting here, because we hit 64 degrees this week and it’s Christmas Eve today and I’m wearing a short-sleeved sweater, and I don’t know, but when is the last time this kind of thing happened to us Midwesterners?

(Ken tells me it was 1986. He remembers it well; he was gifted his first pair of roller skates on Christmas morning, and he nearly brayed with joy when he realized it was warm enough to take his wheels for an inaugural spin on the driveway in a t-shirt alone. I didn’t even have to wait ’til March! he’d said. Can you believe it?)

I could not, at the time of this memory recollection, but here we are. It’s a balmy 61 degrees with no snow in sight.

Brief Interruption: Did your mothers have a dress code rule? Ours was this: No shorts unless it’s over 70 degrees. Also, no tights as pants. I tried both in my prime, but my mother was a slick, smart cookie. No getting past her, even if your sweater is technically over your nether regions, and even if the tights were stirrup tights, which we all know were leggings, occupationally speaking, if you want to get specific about the verbiage and all.

Am I still bitter? Perhaps.

Is this why I’m wearing a short-sleeved sweater on Christmas Eve to visit her? Perhaps. It’s all of my pent-up uniformity rebellion rearing its head.

Exposed elbows in December? Never!

‘Tis the season.

Anyway, yes, that’s where I’m headed. To family, to friends, to kin, to grandmother’s house we go. Have yourself a merry little Christmas, bring us the figgy pudding (plus also wine), please have snow and mistletoe, all that jazz.

My family. I don’t talk about them much here, because they never really invited a blogger into their heritage, did they? Not once have they opened their doors to a girl with a megaphone, but here it is: they are spectacular. They’re funny in the way that all families are, in the way that we can roll our eyes for days at our own shortcomings, in the way that we all slip into our comfiest socks at the end of the night and sigh, would you believe our luck?

They’re just easy, that’s all.

They fit like a glove, like a glove compartment, like really good boots. They’re how they’ve always been. They’re what to expect when you’re expecting a good old-fashioned family that talks circles around each other and sometimes spills out passive aggressive comments about parenting styles but always shows up at the hospital when there’s a need.

Always.

I’m rambling again, aren’t I?

Here’s what I want to say, really. I don’t know what your Christmas schedule allows, if you even have a Christmas schedule, if you even call it that. I don’t know if you’re splitting time between friends and family, if it’s fun or function, if it’s a whirl or a twirl, but I’m guessing there are some good things mixed in with the bad. I’m guessing it’s neither sunny or stormy.

I’m guessing it’s somewhere between, like a short-sleeved sweater on a cool-but-not-cold 61 degree day.

Yeah yeah, I’m going in for a metaphor. You saw it coming, didn’t you? I can’t just land this kind of plane straight on the runway.

It’s just that the more I think about it, the more I feel like the only word worth repeating is AND.

The cool of short sleeves and the warmth of a sweater.
The busy sidewalks and the silent night.
The snow and the thaw.

The hard manger, the soft straw.
The dark night, the bright star.
The wisest of men, the lowliest of shepherds.

The and, the and, the and.

I’m headed into the holiday break with my own ands.

I’m working on my book edits and I’m working on the world’s longest nap.
I want (my own flawed version of) perfect and I want (my own perfect version of) flawed.
What I feel is the warmth and what I feel is the chill.

I want this life and I want a vacation from this life.

I want everything between.

The and, the and, the and.

Last week, Zappos asked me to choose a few pieces from their Style Room – a genius combination of curated picks and maximum selection. I picked a classic sweater and enclave boots, naturally. And free shipping.

The and, the and, the and.

Want to know what happened after the weird roller skate year in 1986? I was only 3, so I’m taking his word for it, but Ken tells me it snowed for weeeeeeeeeeks. It was a straight-up blizzard to be reckoned with. It was God’s wrath on short sleeve roller skating boys.

But he tells me it was wonderful. Every 6-year-old wants to build a snowman and scoot around in skates.

Everyone wants the and, the and, the and.

Merry Christmas, friends. May your days be merry and bright. Tender and mild.

And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

 

 

p.s. This essay was written for Zappos – my go-to for speedy shipping AND great customer service. Shop The Style Room for your last-minute holiday needs, and Merry Christmas!

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