Monday, December 26, 2011

A Christmas in Glengarry, another in Toronto

[trees, just by my sister's house] A first Christmas, properly shared. We divide between Glengarry and the wilds of Toronto. How does one begin? Christine and I drive to the farm on December 23rd, and return to Nepean briefly to pick up Kate from her job the next afternoon for the sake of a homestead Christmas on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Between work and other family considerations, the options are few; we’re okay with that, having had Christmas Eve Christmases a number of years now, given the large size of my sister’s husband’s family, large enough they require hall rental on Christmas Day to fit them all. We have a goodly turkey meal in the middle of the afternoon at my sister's house, with her brood, husband and our dad, and then the children tear into presents, as is appropriate.

Glengarry, with slow, quiet trees and a layer of snow. We see all the stars, driving in.

[just before Christmas dinner, Christine teaching my sister's girl Emma to knit; Rory on the couch; Duncan with his inflatable gloves looking at gran'pa] Nephew Duncan got an inflatable punching bag with inflatable gloves. The bag had water to weigh the bottom, instead of sand. By the time we'd arrived, he had already punctured the bag, leaking water throughout. I had his sister Rory take it to their bathtub. A matter of hours: I was impressed. This, a boy who accidentally put a hockey stick through their big-screen television, cancelling his third birthday party. My father gave him a Woody doll (from the Toy Story movies) that he loved so much, he was actually stunned the first few minutes. At first, we couldn't even tell if he was happy or pissed off. You. Got. Me. A. Woody. Doll. Repeated about four or five times. I think it's pretty difficult to stun a three-year-old.

Toronto is as it ever was, waking up Christmas morning to get into the car. Our original plan was to drive Kate back to Ottawa and continue, onward, to the Big Smoke for a late lunch with Christine’s father and stepmother, as well as her brother, Michael. My father offers to drive Kate, and we take it, in the car by 9am and at Christine's father's house not until just after 2pm. It is so good to not be in a car anymore, driving. It is good to not have to be driving. At least the 401 was relatively clean, and the snow, once we moved west from Cornwall, went from a light dusting to nothing at all.

Strange, the idea of being out on the 401 at all, driving such lengths on Christmas Day. 

[Christine, mother Karin, + brother Michael at their mother's house] Mike lived in our new apartment before we did, and he often, still, gets more mail than we do. What else could I do but wrap it all up in a tidy parcel, lovely bow? The evening, Christine, Michael and I make for their mother’s house for a dinner with extended clan.

With all this new family and driving, feels odd to have Christmas without even a reference to the Queen's Message, without being able to (yet) catch the new Doctor Who Christmas episode. Odd.

But, a stocking at her father's house, another at her mother's. Lovely, and unexpected. I haven't had a stocking since, I think, my sister started having children (Emma just turned eight, a few days ago). The years before, stockings at the homestead for myself, sister, my daughter. Nearly a decade since, and here I get two. Nice. 

In Toronto until the 30th, Christine has us scheduled to visit with various folk once, if not twice, daily, driving from downtown to Hamilton to Burlington, some days. There will be an hour or two, perhaps, daily for writing of some sort, in-between the wedding magazines and what else. Apparently, in a few days we drive down to St. Catharines/Niagara with her mother for a dinner with further family. Just what have I got myself into? Hah,


Amanda said...

Merry Christmas!
If it makes you feel any better, I haven't been able to watch the doctor Who special either - hopefully when I get back home on the 30th!
See you in passing on the 401!

Wendy AKA Lovie Muffin said...

Thanks for the story of your Christmas and the photos! So fun seeing pictures of your nephew and nieces. Great picture of Christine and Mike and Mom. I may also be passing you on the 401 on the 30th as Adriana, Kayleigh and I return to Toronto from the wilds of Kingston and now snow-covered Hartington.