Traci is sleeping on the couch behind me. I'm propped up on Dad's laptop with Christmas Story on the T.V. Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra sing the men in the Chineese Restaurant and Traci wakes. She wants to go up to bed like Dad and Mike and Amy have done, but I asked her to stay down here with me while I write. I like her sleeping next to me.
Yesterday's drive to Louisville was intense. We hadn't slept enough for the 13.5 hour drive, but this provided us with some needed steam blowing and reconnection after such a busy November and December. It also provided Traci the opportunity for her first 3 hours driving a stick. (Special thanks to Steve and Estella Salett for the wheels that brought us home. Traci did really good with the clutch.)
It is a tradition that every Christmas Eve I sit up and write. Because it is the end of a day spent with family, and because Christmas still manages to elevate itself above the rest of life as usual, I tend to have a lot on my mind. I'm usually upset, vowing things to myself like never be fake in the presence of loved ones again, quit wasting time, spend the next year saying what I mean, or suggesting some new romantic approach to my life endeavors. The passion with which I write of my atonement is usually fed by anxiety and alcohol on a full stomach. I can't belittle the means, however, because it gets the thoughts out of me and I advance better off with the words having been written. But I tend to find that when I write these things, I have a pretty poor appreciation for what I have been up to thus far.
My best memory of Christmas Eve atonement involved finding some hidden key to my personal matrix from chapters in a Dr. Phil weight loss book.
This year - or tonight anyway - is different. No Phil. No conundrum to decipher. I'm pretty peaceful. Being fake is not an issue. It is true, there are things on my mind to take into the next year: increased lust for life, more time with Traci, more brilliant execution of designs, make an assload of cash. But on the whole, I feel things moving forward. The first part of the year looks to be fruitful from the minute the ball drops on New Years Day. Music will be coming out of me in many configurations and situations. I'll have a reading of my first play. Adam's "Essential Self Defense" will premiere at Playwrights Horizons in March. There is no shortage of stories to write, and if I'm lucky, this will be the year for Motherlodge. (www.motherlodge.com)
Tippi is my Dad's Persian Cat. He is before me now whining to be pet in the same way he has done for the past 21 Christmases. (21!) This will be my last year to appease Tippi. Sad, yes, but there is a yin to the yang: this is also the last Christmas with the Rizzo house that won't have a little one roaming about. Our gift to Mike and Amy was a maternity shirt and a door knob for the child's room.
If it's a girl, they will name her Mary. Queen of the Sea of Bitterness.
If it's a boy, Nathanial. Gift from God.