26 December 2007

The Week in Three Acts

My poor computer has abandoned me at last, forcing my re-entry into the blogging world to become sporadic. I don't know when I will have my baby back, but until then I apologize in advance for my lengthy absences and sudden reappearances.

With the chaos of the season behind me now (mostly) I am ready to slip into the new year unnoticed. I will be like a shadow, gathering my thoughts and moving forward with accuracy and confidence. This is my wish for the new year, a year in which I have no idea what will happen to myself, to my family, and to our future.

I have applied to the graduate programs at Cornell University and the University of Missouri-Columbia. In a week or two I will have applied also to the University of Nebraska, Ohio University, and the State University of NY at Binghamton.

Each of the graduate schools has a program that combines the study of literature with the craft of writing and I can honestly say that I do not have a favorite. Of course I would love to get into Cornell, because, well, who wouldn't? But all of the programs that I have applied to would be perfect for me, and there is not one that I think would be more perfect.

While this is great in one way, it also leaves so many possible futures open, that I have no idea where Steve and the girls and I will be in a year, or even in six months.

In the days leading up to Christmas I thought a lot about why we celebrate that day. For someone who doesn't even believe in God, I really get into that Christmas spirit. I thought a lot about trying to make the holiday into something else, something that doesn't involve the birth of Christ (it's not like it's his real birthday anyway!), something that is a celebration of family, of love, of togetherness. But I couldn't seem to give up any of the traditions that I have come to love, the advent calendar, the stockings, the tree...

And then yesterday, as I watched my children opening the gifts that Santa had brought them, and later as they played together among candy wrappers and paper and trinkets, I realized that I don't want to give it up. This is what I love about Christmas, creating a day that brings joy to the people in my life.

From hanging out with Steve's mom on Saturday since she had to work on Christmas, to knitting mittens for my nephew, splurging on Matilda's Santa present because there was only one special thing that she wanted, and finding a cashmere sweater for $3.00 in my mother's size. It all makes me feel good. I know it gets stressful, and it can certainly get hectic. I didn't make everything I wanted to in time, and I wish that some things had been planned better, timing-wise, and that I had had more time with my friends.

But all in all I think that in spite of my atheist leanings, I really love Christmas, and even if I don't celebrate the birth of Christ (don't get me wrong, I think he was a great guy) I can celebrate the secular version of Christmas in a way that minimizes commercialism and still feels like a celebration of love.

First, a qualifying statement: I do not believe in New Year's Resolutions.

I do however, believe in making changes when changes are necessary, and since scrambling to complete applications, attempting to write a novel in November, and knitting, sewing and watching Christmas movies through December, it is time for a change.

Starting now (not next week) I will watch less TV, read more books, write every day, and submit my work for publication.


Cathy said...

Such exciting plans — I can't wait to hear where you guys end up!

Love the pics.

Belated holiday wishes!


Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck said...

This is an exciting time for you--its always fun to try a new place! I hope you have a wonderful New Year!

jennifer said...

Good luck with the grad school acceptance letters which I hope will be in the mail soon! (I applied to U of MO and didn't get in...assholes.)(That will definitely NOT happen to you, though.)

Here's to a wishes granted new year!

Stepherz said...

That's a fantastic pre-New Years resolution! Great minds-- I just had my Direct TV cancelled. I want to spend more time with my fam and doing crafts together rather than staring blankely at a screen. I can feel my brain cells melting when I watch tv.

I'm excited for you-- going to a new place and getting into a great school. Looking forward to who you choose, I'm betting they all choose you...

Jenn said...

Your resolutions sound a whole lot like mine. Except add in the traditional "Lose weight, get in shape" resolution and we're set.

We don't celebrate the Christian Christmas. We celebrate Yule, we just do it on Christmas day so the girls don't feel "weird" about it. Yule is a celebration of life, the returning of longer days and a reminder that although things die or hibernate through the long dark months, spring is always around the corner. Renewal and re-birth are cyclical, both in nature and in our lives and its a time to reflect on the dark months and celebrate the coming "light" months.

Anonymous said...

Merry belated Christmas, my friend. The girls look adorable.

Best of luck on the ongoing application process. And can I steal your (non) resolutions? They sound good to me.

Shauna Loves Chocolate said...

Love the pics. (Catching up with you right now...)