Uh. Well, Winter Break is almost over. Jules goes back in one week and that means the slothful gluttony of sleeping in has to come to a close. It has been rather enjoyable though.
Holidays are always a bit odd for us. We are not really on the Jesus-Was-The-Son-of-God side nor are we positioned on the mass consumerism side. As a result, we do not do Christmas. It isn't that we are opposed to Christmas; it just doesn't fit our family. There are Christmases with the grandparents which contain all the presents, sparkling trees, and fan fare for the Barracuda. But, for us, we are a Solstice family. I grew up in a small mill town with three Jewish families. Having now identified ourselves as a "Solstice Family" I completely understand what it must have been like for those children to have been in a "Jewish Family."
So let me explain just what all it means to be a Solstice Family. Solstice refers to the position of the planet as it orbits around the sun. There are two solstice days of the year and two equinox days. These are the days which mark the official changes of the season. Summer Solstice is when summer officially starts; it is the longest day of the year. Autumnal equinox is when autumn officially starts. Vernal equinox when spring officially starts. You get the idea. Basically it is when the Earth has moved another quarter around the Sun and the year is progressing. So the Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the last quarter of the Earth's journey.
In holiday terms, we celebrate the Earth resting after a long hard year. It is a quiet time for us to appreciate all that has come and gone, all that we have accomplished, and all the work which has been done well. We feast, enjoy each other, and celebrate the time as a family. Jules is off of work and we can see him during the day. We can sleep in, hunker down in front of a fire, and snuggle up together. There is no discussion of God or creation myth, though they are not specifically excluded. We just tend to focus our celebration more on taking a break from a hard year of work, and the recognition that another is to come. It is more the concept of how grateful we are for all that we have and can share with each other.
Over our Solstice, the Barracuda wakes up exceptionally early and comes to snuggle in bed with us. He will crawl in under the covers and snuggle for about a half hour before going to play computer games in his room. I secretly love this. Pretty soon he will be far too big to climb into bed with us, so for now I relishing our little man. Jules and I sleep in till an obnoxious hour and then we walk down to coffee. Nights we make a fire, play card games together, and enjoy our dinner talking all about the fun things we can do together the next day. It is a wonderful reconnection for our family.
There are no trees for us; no decorations, no Santa, elves, or North Pole. Suprisingly, there are also very few presents. The family gets one large gift for all of us to share. The gift is intended to bring us closer together and gives us a year to grow on. Last year, we received Guadalupe and she has been quite a wonderful contribution to our household (even if sometimes I consider turning her into a very nice, furry pillow). She has been quite the lesson in patience, responsibility, and companionship for the Barracuda. She will also rip the face off of anyone who might hurt my boy and that makes a mommy sleep a little better at night. As you can see from the picture, she isn't spoiled at all.
This year, we gifted ourselves with music. The Barracuda has always had a thing for music. Somehow it is just in his blood. He didn't get it from Jules or I, but we very much enjoy trying to foster this love in multiple ways. Jules received a much anticipated banjo, I promised myself more time to play my neglected guitar, and the Barracuda got his very first guitar. The Barracuda has been perfecting rhythm with a bongo style drum. He can play along as I play my guitar and can find the rhythm in songs from our Ipod. We figured this year he can begin to learn strum patterns and possibly the fingerings for chords. As a family we can begin creating music together.