Cool little things:
First: One of my favorite people from my high school years is my drama coach. As an actor, he taught me a great deal about how to be comfortable—and therefore be real—on stage, and one of my coolest high school experiences was acting as his stage manager when he directed 1984. We still chat on the phone now and then, and have managed to see each other in person twice in the last twenty years. I tell you all this so you'll understand how unbelievably awesome it was to hear him say he can see me in Sword and Chant.
Second: A complete stranger gave Sword and Chant four of five stars over at Goodreads. I'm telling you this because... Well, because you're my friends, and I'm so ridiculously jazzed I keep giggling. :)
Our Christmas tree is up! This is an accomplishment. Last year, I put up a tree with a few standard glittery ornaments because I didn't want to pull out the special ornaments. Special ornaments hold memories—that's their purpose—and neither Dev nor I were interested in swimming in that ocean. We didn't put lights outside, either. We didn't do much of anything but get through the first Christmas without his father.
This time, Dev volunteered to help. There are only special ornaments on the tree. And since we have a much smaller tree (because we have a much smaller space for it!), those special ornaments fill the spaces perfectly. If it ever stops raining, or freezing, we will put up some outside lights as well. Nothing huge, but enough to reclaim the season.
Above all else, I am grateful beyond measure that my son still talks with me. One night last week, he brought up a very serious topic while we were driving home. I didn't want to risk losing the connection—when a teenager starts talking from the heart, the smallest thing can stop the flow—so we sat in the car, in the driveway, in the cold darkness for a couple of hours as he talked his way through missing his father, grieving for the carefree teenage years he will never know, and figuring out what he wants to do next.
A couple of days later, he went to his first employee Christmas party. He was, of course, the youngest there by about five years, but had a blast. His coworkers like him and treat him well. He said it was the first time he didn't feel awkward at a big party. I think it's because it was the first party he'd attended that wasn't geared to young teenagers.
In two and half weeks, I leave for California to spend a few days in a treehouse with That Man (who is still wonderful, awesome, handsome, and understanding), then I'll head down the coast to spend a couple days with dear friend Patricia in either San Luis Obispo or Carmel, depending upon schedules. As thrilled as I am with the ongoing enrollment at the dojo (two new people last night!), I could really use the break.