Last night, after a dinner made by my husband, we drove through our neighborhood gawking at the holiday light displays. Some were classy, some gaudy, some muted and other blingy. As we cruised around slowly, I got to see twinkling lit up trees through the window, families gathered around the dinner table, TVs with some game on. There was a sense of togetherness, joy and happiness in the air.
I woke early. I was excited to wear a tee shirt I ordered last year for my birthday but it arrived late. One year is a long time to wait to use something. I washed my hair. I felt bright, cheery and pretty even. I spoke to amma and then I spoke to my friends. I had my coffee in peace, savoring the few moments before the kids were up.
I turned the tree lights on and set up the tripod. I was ready. The day unfolded as predicted. I got to open my gifts (which were plenty) first. As I oohed and aahed over what my family had spent time, effort and money in picking out for me, I felt an incredible sense of gratitude for this life, at this moment.
One by one, each opened their Santa sacks, grinning and hugging in turn. Under twenty minutes, all that was left was detritus. Plastic packaging, string and, boxes. The kids retired to their rooms. I walked around the house talking to family over video as they wished me. Lunch was simple and nostalgia filled. The afternoon nap reminded me of Deepavali.
I cut a cake in the afternoon. We made it a light dinner of sautéed vegetables and cut fruit followed by ice-cream. As the night claims what is left of today, I am left with contentment.
Over the years, I have wished for this kind of day many times. Today was a dream come true. Being celebrated by family is something I do not take for granted. I took plenty of pictures knowing my children are growing. One day, they will look back on these moments with a sense of nostalgia I reserve for the pictures in my head with no tangible presence any where else.
The end of the year is around the corner. I feel a lightness in my heart, optimism in my head. I want the year ahead to be better than the one we are leaving behind. I am willing it to be true.