Friday, December 23, 2005

Wrapped Up for Christmas

Tuesday morning I walked in my living room and Meech Muffin was on my couch half asleep wrapped up in my afghan blanket. The very image of him made me smile and the significance of that afghan stirred something in my heart. It was a reminder of home. In my family there are very few traditions but one as unique as my family itself is the making of the afghan. Just a few months before high school graduation my mother posed to all of her children – what color? She would sit on our couch and crochet a queen size blanket from yarn in our favorite colors. My sisters’ is purple, pink and white. Jimmy Jams’ is all black and mine is three shades of blue and white. Going out in the world, my mother wanted something to cover us when she couldn’t, when we were more than arms length away.

I have lived away from home almost ever since I graduated high school and no matter where I go I take my afghan with me. For the next few days though I won’t need it because my mother will be able to wrap her arms around me herself. Tomorrow I am heading home for Christmas and I couldn’t be more excited. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. I have broken my old record of six months between visits to Cleveland. I haven’t been since April when I surprised my brother for his 30th birthday celebration and this trip home is now long overdue.

Since Tuesday the visions of fresh baked holiday cookies have been dancing in my head. If my guess is right, around the same time I step off the plane my mother will be pulling the first batch out of the oven and by the time I make it home they should be cool and ready for me to devour. Christmas Eve I’m going to a football game with Jimmy Jam and my annual gathering with friends from high school. Someone else from our inner circle has gotten married since last Christmas and I anticipate I will meet her new husband. Christmas Day I am looking forward to most because I will say amen to the birth of Christ and later on sink my teeth into a bone. Of those few traditions my family has, another is barbecuing on Christmas. Somewhere around 4th or 5th grade there was a family meeting about the Christmas dinner menu and the consensus was that following Thanksgiving no one really wanted turkey but a few slabs on the grill sounded just fine. Since then in cold and or snowy weather we have managed to do it every year.

Of course over the years people have called us strange for doing what we do. Who ever heard of sitting around eating Christmas cookies and barbecue ribs in almost freezing temperatures? Probably not many, yet we like it and have a wonderful time with each other. I’m so looking forward to Christmas. I won’t be wrapped up in a symbol of home because that will still be sitting at the foot of my bed here in DC. I will however be wrapped up in home, sitting at the foot of my mothers’ bed in Cleveland.