It is the sad truth – I went into this season a little Scrooge-y. Too much work, too much recession, too much news about friends loosing jobs. And, to top it off, too cold for Tennessee. If my husband and daughter had not gone into the attic to fetch Christmas decorations, I may have left them up there yet one more season.
Horrible, I know. The mother of a 5-year-old isn't allowed to cancel Christmas.
Alas, the holiday went off without a hitch. My parents came up from Miami, our home was filled with food and friends and Maria got some lovely gifts. (I do believe I may have lost points with the indulgent grandmother for giving Maria a vegetable chopper for Christmas. Hey, I am practical.)
Late on the night after Christmas, after friends had left and the evening's dishes were cleared away, I gave Maria the 5-minute warning that it was bedtime. It actually had been her bedtime two hours earlier.
"But Mami, I haven't done my ballet,'' she said. "Please let me dance first.''
And so with Enya filling in as ballet music, my daughter – who has never taken a ballet class in her life – donned her sparkly pink tutu and danced in the light of the twinkling Christmas tree. She twirled and did a few wobbly plies.
She was pink perfection.
As I watched her, I was grateful for the tree and the holiday spirit that almost never was. And, I realized that little children are the anti-Scrooge. They are peace and joy in the moment. Exhaustion and headlines be damned. Dance now because you can.
I'm almost sorry now that the tree won't be up all year.