Every year right around this time I get sappy. I spend Nov. 1 through Jan. 10 in a heightened state of emotional lather.
We have all five boys' birthdays interspersed among Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve. The ever-racing nature of time is really driven home by singing "Happy Birthday" 25 times in six weeks (I figure an average of five rounds of "Happy Birthday" per child) and throwing in Christmas carols to boot.
What this boils down to is that I am the Queen of the Holidays. I'm not suggesting that I'm about to whisk the immaculate turkey-shaped-folded-cloth-napkin-white-light crown from Martha Stewart's coifed and calm head. Not even close. We are talking about Queen Thanksgiving and Christmas Spirit, folks.
We make handprint turkeys and construction paper cornucopias and real live turkey feather (dead turkey, rather; I've never plucked a feather from a live one) headdresses to honor the native people who helped the settlers. We have a very Omnimedia-unapproved Christmas tree. Each year it is filled with odds and ends like homemade ornaments, bamboo umbrellas from our beloved and now defunct Chinese restaurant, and an ornament from my piano teacher when I was a kid.
But there's more.
There are pieces of iridescent ribbon the children loved that they cut from a gift several years ago, rocks (yes, rocks; my children love them), twigs -- because as one child said, "A tree can never have too many!" -- and more often than not, a few lovingly arranged paper towels. I didn't ask on that one. What I do know is that the child who does that has a look of rapture on his face. That's enough for me.
I burst into song with no provocation. I dance around the kitchen waving wooden spoons while my eyeballs glitter and my smile gleams (if a tea-soaked smile can do such a thing) at those who enter my lair. I brandish homemade cookies and cakes and bread and candies and dried fruit under the noses of anyone who says, "I'm hungry" because the baking and the cooking reaches near manic levels.