It finally hit me today: my mother is dead and there is no going home for Christmas.
I don't know why it came out of left field and whacked me upside the head this late in the game. She died last spring, but then again, I haven't been home for the holidays in at least a decade, so why this year, and why two days late? I don't know. I'd ask my shrink, but I don't have one. I spent the day in a sort of blue fog that would have made things touchy, but everyone in my little nuclear family is too preoccupied with their own lives to notice. My wife and younger son spent the day getting ready to head off to visit her parents. We spend every New Year's at her parents house. I'm not sure why it worked out that way, but it did. I'm not bitter, mind you, but today I spent a lot of time wondering if things should have been more even-handed. For the next two days only my elder son and I will be home, and he'll mostly be hanging out with his baseball team. Lots of internet game time, and then I climb on a bus and spend five hours riding down to visit a family that works really hard trying to make me feel at home but never quite manages it. Not their fault, mine. Despite my best intentions, at heart I'm still an American and I feel it the most during the winter holidays.
We put the Christmas tree away today. My Japanese wife baked an American-style apple pie.
Is it irony, clairvoyance, or some perverse form of poetic justice?
Doesn't matter. The pie is sweetly delicious and so is she.