Christmas crackers are these neat little cardboard tubes covered with pretty paper and gathered at each end with skinny pieces of cardboard protruding from said ends. You grasp the ends and pull, if you're lucky you'll hear a loud snapping noise, and then the cracker will open to reveal your treasures, usually a fortune or joke on a slip of paper, a tissue-paper crown, and a toy or surprise of some kind.
Just like a box of Cracker Jacks, only there is the added bonus of royal wardrobe accessories and cued-up sparkling dinner conversation. Because these are the Holidays.
I already bought a big box of Christmas crackers and that means..well, it means I'm done. It's the final entry on the proverbial list and I am ready for Christmas. Aside from decorating the tree, mailing gifts home to the coast, and picking up Ruth and Henry's presents from Santa, I am ready to roll. All of those things will be accomplished this week.
I'm ready and the holidays are here and I'm not on pills and not fresh off the ward and not holding onto the professionals expecting them to breathe on my behalf because I pay them well and not living just because no one will let me die.
That's progress, considering last year Christmas was done for us and around us and I did so very little, stumbling through the holidays in a daze, on autopilot and attempting to sort out my head and my heart but doing nothing except floating on Jacob's inevitabilities and holding Ben's hand.
The funny part is I didn't have to lift a finger or do all this but I did, methodically keeping lists and starting around Halloween, just to get and stay ahead and be productive and contribute. Breathe on my own. Hold Ben's hand but sometimes skip out in front, instead of lagging behind. Be a good wife. One he can someday be proud of. Secretly buy him presents and hide them away in places he can't reach into but I can fit easily. Places he'll never look. We're equal and he is up to something, conspiring with the children, going off to run errands after dinner, taking one child with him each time and they come home with secretive grins and packages and I have to go somewhere else in the house so they can go to the off-limits room and tuck away their ideas. No one will give up even a single hint, but that's okay because neither will I.
It's rather fun. This far cry from last Christmas and I'm getting excited for when the kids are done school and all jobs are suspended in favor of sitting around the fire and the tree spending time with all the people that I love, telling jokes to each other and wearing our crowns. Trading our toys if they don't seem to be meant for the right people and hearing the sound as we are pulled simultaneously between the present, past and future with an audible snap.