full moon christmas

We were off to a decent start Christmas day, with the full moon on the rise, pulling the tides, yet out of sight. In most ways it was a day like any other—no decorations, no wrapped presents sparkling under a tree, no grade-schooler scrambling to see what Santa brought—except that Michael dry-brined a goose then prepared his family's age-old eggnog recipe for a handful of dinner guests. The weather was unseasonably mild with temps in the mid to upper fifties and no wind to speak of—rare for a Maine December—so, for a change of scenery, we took ourselves to the beach. Nellie romped in the brackish water where the Kennebeck river meets the sea not far from where we spotted a loon diving for fish. For a good part of our walk we labored with our boy who has been less compliant of late, perhaps due to a low-grade illness, the full moon, puberty, the benzodiazepine withdrawal and/or the recent onslaught of seizures coming every day or two or three.

Halfway to our usual destination we decided to abort the mission, and as we made our way back to the trail through the dune we passed happy families having picnics with their obedient dogs and selfsame kids. One tot, who seemed no taller than my knee, ran gleefully between surf and shore, surf and shore. Seeing the relaxed families, their ability to sit and rest taking in the view, knifed my heart.

Trudging through the dune, I mourned the burden of bringing Calvin places we yearn to go, and I wondered if all the walks we'd taken—pre-Calvin—along the Pacific near San Francisco, among old-growth redwoods or on foreign shores might've in some way made up for our current and indefinite struggle or inability to do so. The notion, which I'd thought might bring some karmic relief, only made me feel worse thinking perhaps I'll never again enjoy the freedom to travel unencumbered, even in my twilight years.

Considering his state, Calvin did okay, though on the long drive back he seemed to want to crawl out of his skin, mauling me and moaning all the way home. As the day progressed his mood deteriorated into lunacy, at times shrieking and shaking his head and limbs in a frenzy then whining for unclear reasons. I had no doubt he'd later have a grand mal in his sleep even though it was only day three. Calvin's grousing worked our nerves into angry, toxic knots, though we tried to rise above the fray. It didn't help thinking about all of the merry-making going on in the rest of the world.

As Calvin thrashed in the bath, I perched myself at the top of the stairs just feet away and peered out a southwest window. Barely three, the sun had already begun sinking behind a stand of white pines across the street. It was a beautiful scene, really, the road and trees still wet and glistening from the last night's rain, a painterly sweep of clouds drifting by. I thought of my friend Elizabeth, who is in a similar situation with her child, and how she, too, practices the art of mindfulness, of living in the moment appreciating life's simple gifts, like the tick of a clock, a morning mist or curve of a jar. I glanced at Calvin, my little cyclone, then looked outside, again noting how pretty it was.

Eventually, Michael and I worked out our knots with the help of a little forgiveness and some homemade bourbon eggnog. By the time Calvin settled down, the house had begun to fill with the aroma of roast goose, toasted walnuts and potatoes au gratin. Our guests began arriving in relaxing waves, some sharing bits of their own harried or exhausting day, and soon we were laughing it up huddled in the kitchen, as party guests are wont to do. And after we put Calvin to bed having given him an extra dose of cannabis oil, the seven of us sat down to a feast, raised our glasses to our handsome chef, dug our teeth into rich cuisine and philosophical talk, and tried our best, with good success, to turn the tides on worrisome full moons and loonies, and cast them into what we considered might be a hypothetical wind, at least for the night.


  1. This year I had a lovely Christmas eve with small children, but none of them Katie, none of them needed my hyper vigilance, nobody was drunk, it was marvelous. I realized how much I missed with my own kids because I had to watch out for Katie and my ex. I'm thankful for a reprieve of sorts, even though I wish I could spend it with Katie. Yesterday the big guy and I took her out and she attacked me again, although this time the big guy prevented any damage to me and Katie didn't feel so much remorse because I never cried. Baby steps I suppose.

    I hope you had a wonderful evening with your friends.

  2. I thought of you all day today. Hmmmmm.

  3. No one else's life is as perfect as it might at first seem ;)