The Finding Season
In contrast to the summer holidays ,when I am so willing/planning to get lost on vacation for getting-lost's sake, I approach the Christmas/New Year vacation with a determination to find things. Maybe it is because, unlike the summer holidays, it is not exactly business as usual at this time of year. The obligation to get myself and my children out the door with matching socks and mittens is temporarily suspended and I get the opportunity to search for some things as time congeals and oozes through days of movie watching, game playing and chocolate eating. Whether it is to find things I did not know I wanted to find, i.e. how the light throws shadows on the snow across the street, or to re-find the matching mittens, I discover that by the time this holiday comes I have a need to sort some things out. Across the candlelit table. I see my kids sitting, mesmerised by eating supper in semi-darkness and in the midst of all the dim, multi-coloured light cast over everything and breakfasting on chocolate and cookies, I find parts of myself too. This year's holiday has been devoted to lots of resting and reading and playing. The kids got a Wii and I found a forgotten obsession with Supermario brothers. I sat down with a copy of Cosmo, a publication I haven't opened in over 15 years. Both activities got me thinking not just fondly about old times but, also about fresh new possibilities that I had completely dispensed with. There is the finding of time (never enough) to meaningfully connect with friends and my kids and the finding of perfect gifts. Of course, all of these things can happen on another kind of holiday or at any time throughout the year for that matter, but during this period, I find myself learning things about my friendships and relationships. Sometimes the things I find are not pleasant, they are things I need to address and rectify. Despite the stress and expectations, I cannot help but feel doors pop open inside as I catch new glimpses of versions of myself that are better at being a parent and a friend. It is in the finding of the things, both thought to be lost and not yet discovered, that I receive a gift. That gift keeps my mittens matched for at least two weeks into the new year and goes a long way to sustain me through the dark, lengthening days of winter.