Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday and New Year Musings

It's bitterly cold here in St. Louis today. My husband is at the mall (only 3 shopping days left!), one of my sons is at the Rams game with college buddies, and I'm about to go make another batch of cookies. The crockpot is filled with the makings for White Chicken Chili, and in a few hours friends are coming over to enjoy the chili and cookies and some holiday cheer.

I moved to this town and this house 18 years ago next month, and the two families coming over tonight are the first people I met. They are, literally, my next-door neighbor and back-fence neighbor. At the time, our kids were toddlers. The three youngest of those kids will be joining us tonight, all home from college. It'll be the first party where none of them will have to sneak a beer in the backyard.

Over the years we've worried about teachers and mean kids at school and college acceptances. We've driven carpools, and babysat. We've mourned the loss of parents and buried beloved pets. We've welcomed new puppies and one grandbaby. We all danced at my wedding 3 years ago. We've borrowed eggs and traded recipes and sat up way too late drinking wine. We've brought meals after surgery and driven each other home after medical procedures. We've had health scares and put out one driveway fire.

We try to get together more often, but life gets in the way and we find ourselves running into each other at the grocery store and saying things like "we've got to get together" and we wave from the driveway or holler over the back fence. So, it's a treat to actually have a date on the calendar when we can relax and laugh and reminisce.

And that's one of the wonderful things about this time of year. For one, my house is all decorated and cozy so I want to light the candles and have friends over. For another, it's a time to look back and look forward, and that naturally means thinking about good friends.

When I moved here, so much ahead of me was unknown. Divorce, remarriage. A first novel being published. Teaching full-time and then changing careers. In the past year, even, our three families have weathered sadnesses and celebrations like families all over the world. And I love looking back at the quilt of our lives, pieces here and there of all the things that have made us who we are, woven together in tears and laughter and love.

Who knows what we'll be celebrating at the end of 2009?

But to all of you, I wish you a holiday filled with warmth and laughter and family and good friends. And a 2009 full of joy and surprise and adventure.

See you next year.


kristenspina said...

Judy, this is a lovely post and a wonderful tribute to good friends. Merry Christmas, my friend. I love waving to you over my cyber back fence.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Thanks Kristen. And yoo-hoo to you too. (Plus, It'd be great if you were her to try to diagnose the messed up new cookie recipe that just filled my oven with smoke!)

debra said...

And I wave over my cyber-fence from the East. Actually, I'm waving out my cyber-window. It's too cold to be outside.
I wish you happy, healthy, loving and peaceful days.

Susan said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Debra-- Waving back at you (from where it's warm inside!). I love this cyber neighborhood I've lucked into.

Susan, welcome--wonderful to have you here!

LarramieG said...

Ah, if everyone lit just one little candle all year. Much joy to all!

Carleen Brice said...

Once again, I want your neighborhood! :) Merry, merry!

Therese said...

Have a beautiful, restful holiday season--and stay warm!

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Larramie--what a great idea . . . light one candle; spread the warmth.

Carleen--we'd love to have you here. It really is a great neighborhood (and town). Come visit!

Therese--same to you, my dear!

Hannah Roveto from the Writers Group said...

What a beautiful post, encouraging us to take a moment to think back and think ahead, too! (Not an easy feat this time of year!) Merry Christmas and cheers to a happy, healthy and wonderful 2009!

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Hannah--it is nice to look both ways, isn't it? I hope 2009 brings you all good things!

Daisy said...

Mmmm...white chicken chili!