24 December, 2009

That's what Christmas is all about...

This is the first Christmas I will ever have shared with my mother's family (of my recollection-- that means-- as an adult).

When I arrived on Tuesday evening the reunion was commonplace and touching.

"Hi Uncle Bill..."

I said it in a way that somehow communicated the following:

Hi there. I haven't seen you since Hawaii-- which translates to-- I haven't seen you since we were all there in Kauaʻi, which was three weeks before your father died, which was, incidentally, about 6 months after my father died. That was a very odd Yin and Yang experience in paradise that involved not only an extremely high stake family reunion, but also an incident of sun poisoning, a peacock imprisoning me in my hotel room, and, most touchingly really, a voyage "out" where you and I got away to get ice cream and you extolled the virtues of butter pecan. That was the last time I saw you. That was over 8 years ago. Hi. Hi there. Thank you for letting me crash in your house for the holidays while I feel a wee bit existentially lost.

Then a sweet and sort of awkward hug (I find all non actors give what I consider to be "sortofawkwardhugs" but perhaps that is another essay...)
Followed by:

"Merry Christmas. Thank you for letting me stay."

He looked at me a moment through his large, thick glasses;
"Are you my niece?" He stared at me hard.
"Um, yes," I replied.
"Then this is your house too."

And suddenly I felt very, very much at home.

* * *

Tonight, while Victoria is already celebrating Christmas morning on the beach, and all of London is fast asleep, while New York is just tucking themselves in; Mom and I will be with her family in Southern California-- baking, eating, laughing, getting to know one another. It will be different, yes. But often, different can be illuminating!

And so, while I marvel at a supermarket called El Super, while I gawp at palm trees and piñatas and corn husks and fireworks(?!!) and chili mango and jalapeños; while mom and I are busily preparing a variety of foods both familiar and un; while I enjoy the odd sortof-to-reallyawkwardhug with various "brand-new" people, while I re-pack my warm weather clothes; it is clear that this year, the most important Christmas gift of all will be the gift of what feels like a new family. (Now that is what I call Christmas magic...)

And now, to conclude, the clip that never gets old.

Linus explains what it is all about.

Happy Christmas All. x


  1. Thank you for your time and effort in producing such a nice blog which offers others a glimpse into life on the stage from nearly half a world away! Merry Christmas, God bless, and best wishes!

  2. Have a very Happy Chrstmas Al xx

  3. I'm soooooo happy the two of you will be together for the holiday. A special gift for Al & Cath!!! Know you are both in our thoughts!!!

  4. youre in LA! for how long?? Im in Texas for the next few...but heading ome to LA

  5. merry christmas, my wonderful friend. thinking of you especially in this season, and missing our petit noel... all my love! ♥

  6. Linus tells it like it is!

    Merry Christmas, Al.



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