Santa didn't deliver a tooth as we had hoped, but we had a wonderful Christmas anyway. We began the long weekend with a visit to Leonardo's Last Supper: A Vision by Peter Greenaway at the Park Avenue Armory. I'd never seen anything like it: part art installation, part film, part theatrical event. Though I wasn't entirely sure how baby appropriate the exhibit was, we took the turtle any way. And I'm so glad we did. He loves light and music --- and so much of the presentation involved both. For 45 minutes, he was mesmerized by the color and the movement and the sound. It was a beautiful way to kick off the holiday. As my readers know, I aim to have a spiritual life but I struggle with degrees of faith - and it is an experience like this that makes me believe in something far greater than myself.
Christmas Eve, Chris, the turtle and I joined our dear friend B at a Christmas party in Kew Gardens. And, talk about an experience. After getting off the train, the four of us walked along the Union Turnpike through a typically ugly, urban landscape. But within minutes we entered one of the most charming neighborhoods I've ever seen - and have most certainly seen in New York City. We drank egg nog, ate sushi and dumplings, and Chris caught up with one of the hosts - an actress with whom he never worked directly, but who had spent a fair amount of time at the regional theater where Chris spent the early part of his career. Eventually a far too skinny Santa visited the house, and the turtle had a chance to redeem himself - actually smiling for pictures this time around. We then followed Santa's sleigh (yes, he was in a sleigh -hooked to a car - but still a sleigh) to the square outside the Inn at Kew Gardens Station. There we sang Christmas carols and drank wassail. On more than one occasion we needed to remind ourselves that we were in Queens and not some sleepy little European town 40 minutes outside Prague.
Yesterday morning (Christmas) we woke at 6:30am, the turtle made it through about five presents before he was completely wiped out. But his two hour morning nap, gave Chris and I plenty of time to drink some coffee open a present or two and enjoy the holiday - just the two of us. Around 10:00, the turtle woke and we Skyped with both sets of grandparents. Thank God for technology...if we couldn't see my folks' and in-laws faces every few days, I'm not sure how I would have survived these last few months. After a great day of gift-giving and receiving (I have a beautiful black coral sea turtle around my neck as we speak) we joined one of my most beloved book club buddies, J, her sister, roommates and friends for Christmas dinner (wine, champagne, veal, lasagna, bacon wrapped dates - amazing).
If there's one thing this Christmas has taught me it's this: no one can ever replace family, and my readers know how desperately I wish we lived closer to "home." But, the turtle is surrounded, every day, by people who love him, who celebrate his successes, and marvel at how truly special he is. And people who provide a great deal of support to his daddy and mama.
So here's to surrogate families - cheers!