The tail end of 2009 has frankly been pretty crappy in the Heineman-Fleck household. My car battery died, and some other stuff I won’t burden y’all with. The net is that the Christmas tree we bought two weeks ago is still sitting in the backyard, where we placed it fully intending to bring it in to decorate.
But it’s Christmas eve and the neighborhood is lit up in with luminarias in what is a quiet Albuquerque tradition.
It’s cold, but we took the dog out for a quick walk to see the lights, and now we’re cocooned. Our daughter, Nora, has assembled for us a delightful Christmas music playlist that settled on just the right note with some metal band (Twisted Sister?) doing White Christmas and Spinal Tap’s Christmas with the Devil, and at some point this evening I began slipping into what must be a more honest holiday spirit.
Here’s the thing that finally made me smile.
At one point in the cascade of family crisis over the last two weeks, my wife, Lissa, had to jet off to St. Louis to deal with some stuff (not the car battery).
We’re a no land line, two cell phone family. My phone has great battery life, and I typically only need to charge it about once a week. But while Lissa was in St. Louis, I was obsessed. As soon as I got home from work every evening while she was gone, I would plug it in immediately, and leave it plugged in until I left for work the next morning, turning the ringer up really loud.
I mentioned this in passing to Lissa this evening. She smiled, and said she was similarly obsessed the whole time she was in St. Louis – carrying her cell phone in one pocket and her charger in the other so she’d be sure to be able to plug the phone in if she needed to.
The technology lifeline mattered so much because family matters so much. The tree may still be sitting in the backyard, but it looked awful pretty out there in the snow Wednesday morning. And no need for cell phones because Lissa’s in that chair, right over there.
It won’t be easy, but it’ll be OK.