“Are you okay?” my 12-year-old asks. We’re in the car, heading to the gym so he can lift weights and play basketball. My plan? To head to the neighborhood pub for a lonely glass of wine while he’s busy sweating.
“Why do you ask that?” I answer.
“I don’t know, you seem kind of quiet? Maybe a little sad?”
“No, honey, I’m actually really good. I’m quiet, but in a good way.”
“Actually, I think I like Boxing Day even better than Christmas Day.”
“Yeah, me too. I mean, I like Christmas, but it’s so busy. And what if your parents said you were getting a car and then what they really meant was a matchbox car, and the kid thought it was a real car, and they would be so disappointed!” And then he chuckled for a long while.
(If it’s one thing I’ve learned from having kids, it’s that the prevalence of non sequiturs in daily life is an absolute necessity in the ongoing fight against ennui and political angst.)
Matchbox car daydreams aside, I think he got what I meant about Boxing Day. It’s a quiet day. It’s a sigh. It’s not spending money (except maybe on one glass of Cabernet Sauvignon). It’s reflection. It’s maybe turning on Christmas tree lights, maybe not. It’s trying to finish the book you’ve been reading so you can move on to the new books you received from Santa Claus. It’s checking your work email and feeling invigorated rather than burdened.
It’s realizing that in a few short days, literally short ones, the old year would click over and a fresh year would appear ahead, snow-white and waiting for footprints. I suck at making resolutions, but I am fantastic at recognizing the value of a stretch of unmarred snow, blank pages in a new journal, an unopened box of pens, a new brown leather bag large enough to hold your laptop (okay, maybe I bought more than a glass of wine on Boxing Day).
So while I might be a little quiet today (probably a reaction to talking to so many people yesterday), I’m pretty damn happy about it. I’m both looking forward and honoring the past in a way that’s only possible during this one week of the year. It’s a good feeling.
Matchbox cars vs real cars and the crushing disappointment, and the odd path to hilarity, when the two are confused. It’s all related, right?
What about you? What do you love about Boxing Day?