The Big Dipper

You’d be lying if you didn’t admit that there’s a bit of a lull…a dip, so to speak…between the end of Christmas (or Hanukkah) and New Year’s Eve. We’ve spent well over 30 days work-work-working to celebrate-celebrate-celebrate (however you choose) and now, WHEW, it’s gone and over for another year.

And then you sit back on the sofa, knee-deep in torn paper and empty Lego boxes and strips of packing tape, waiting for the timer on the oven to go off, only to realize that if one at my [ahem] youthful age is lucky, she has maybe 40 more Christmases left.

Seeing how fast my first 40 Christmases flew right on by, this little sobering fact always knocks the wind out of me. Knowing that so many little ones who had so many Christmases ahead of them had them stolen away recently just shreds me up inside. The Big Dipper always peeks out when I’m finally sitting down in this one huge leather chair in which no one ever sits until Christmastime when we have to relocate it to make way for our tree–when it becomes Popster’s Chair. He typically sits there, sequestered in the corner in the dark and with his coat on at 6:45 a.m., watching his grandsons’ tear at their gifts with no abandon.

Inevitably, Jack gets a gift which pulls him away from all the rambunctiousness, and Popster follows, toting a new book he’s just received.

Jack and his Popster are thick as thieves:  they defeated the entire game of Plants vs. Zombies–from start to finish–on Christmas Eve (see below). They’ve tackled World of Goo one summer before. But my oldest child and my dad both have a pull towards the solitary that this only child completely, utterly understands. I’ve often called it a need for “Only Child Time,” but I realize, obviously, everyone–regardless of the number of siblings, or children, or whoever elses–truly needs his or her Only Child Time. I think Christmas day is a wonderful day for some Only Child Time, to contemplate life and to be grateful. Sitting quietly in the big brown chair, surveying the mess and the happiness and the number of people I love all in one place is what Only Child Time is all about.

These are some of the most magical moments of the day, trust me.

This year’s batch of Reindeer Food, whipped up by Chef Theo, contained oatmeal, glitter and protein powder. Tucker was in charge of stirring.


Here’s what you need to know about Reindeer Food: if you toss it all over your driveway and it rains on Christmas Eve, it’s going to make your driveway look like it’s coated with barf. Glittery, vanilla-y barf.

The glitter attracts the reindeer.
Or so I’m told.
Theo engages in some intense reindeer food distribution.

Jack sang with his school at Phipps Plaza before Christmas.

Cue the jazz hands.

The entire production was adorable, and we are constantly amazed at how into theatre our quiet and typically reserved Jack is.

Here’s some more singing, this time at his school’s official Holiday program. Check out the cuteness on the front row, far right in the green tie.

Theo was not as into Jack’s program as the rest of the family and spent a majority of the nearly 2 hours there doing some variation of wallering. [Yes, I used the word “waller.” Not “wallow,” mind you. “Waller.” That’s a little South Georgia for ya.]

We’ve also been playing (and watching) a pile of basketball. Jack plays some mean defense. His hair helps him. That floppy bird’s nest is a wicked distraction.

Number 2 on the floor but number 1 in our hearts…

Santa brought us a ping-pong table! Santa suspended gravity in our basement, too–for ping pong balls at least.

We’re winding down the last few days of December at the beach and couldn’t be happier to be here. It’s the perfect place to rest and refocus while in the dip. It’s breezy and chilly here, but the boys and the dogs are on Cloud 9 and seeing them happy makes the rest of us happy.

Here’s to hoping you can use your time in the dip to fully enjoy and appreciate your gifts–all of them.

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