December first(s)

In the past, the first of December has signaled the raising of the Christmas tree. Messing around with the bits and pieces in the Christmas box, gathered over the years and mostly past their use-by-date. Old salt dough decorations my brothers and I made as children and laminated hand prints from decades ago. That I can accurately use the words “decades ago” is a bit disorienting. Among the Christmas odds and ends are little photo frames holding photos of our little baby faces which used to hang on the tree at our grandparents’ house. 

December was a month of summery Christmas preparation, frozen oranges, spray painting the neighbour’s jacaranda seed pods gold, the smell of sweet peas, fresh mulberries, traipsing around rock pools, making gingerbread houses. Christmas in summer might seem off to the rest of the world but there’s a whole other sort of magic to it. The freedom of heat: short cotton clothes in just one layer and swimmers worn under everything. 

Living in Sweden now, I get the classic Christmas experience. The one we read about in books. December is cold and dark, but lit with strings of golden lights and, sometimes, snow reflects white over the streets. Christmas is celebrated for a whole month, a necessary warmth in the cold winter. 

This December 1st, tradition is far from my mind, as it marks my new, little baby’s one month “birthday”. Sitting here in bed, naughty babe sleeping on my chest (tonight she won’t settle alone), thinking of the way everything is changing now, the cycle of seasons and years, and the seasons and circles of life take on new significance. 

My mind is addled from lack of sleep and a thousand hormones rushing around, but that’s part of the journey. “This, too, shall pass,” my parents keep telling me, and that is such a good reason to cuddle my little gnome close, smell the top of her perfect head, and soak in these wakeful hours. Here I am, young, healthy, and one month into my daughter’s precious life. 

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Lily Ray
Lily Ray

Journalist, photographer, traveller and knitter. Mother to a small but demanding infant, Lily's life is messy but generally lovely. She has a lot of thoughts. Here is where she puts them.

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