In late December and in the absence of Christmas, the rabbit patch is most quiet. The children went home yesterday. When the back door shut, I started missing them. I always indulge myself, on such occasions, by sitting quietly in the den and mourning for a while. For many years, I just cried outright and convinced myself that surely I suffered from some mental calamity.
Yesterday, I tried to avoid a ” nervous breakdown”-as folks used to call it. That term, when I was young, covered every sort of condition and mostly affected women. It could be brought on by such things as a flock of children in the house after three days of rain-though it was always the men that were yelling out and seemed in a state of panic. If a woman was caught crying, she was most likely having “a nervous breakdown”. So, in that case , I have had one most every year for a decade now, when Christmas is over, and the children go home.
Christmas was a beautiful affair, altogether. The days before it, I was with Jenny and we made every day count. There was a family gathering and later a luncheon. We shopped and wrapped presents. I came home early, Christmas Eve morning and went to work at the rabbit patch. I cleaned and cooked while the linens were washing. Mama and Daddy came for an early supper and Brant came home later on that night and so waiting for Tres, Kelsey, Jenny, Will and Lyla was more bearable.
The hours progressed in a typical holiday fashion with a sweet fanfare. Christmas night, we always gather at my parents. Christian brought his guitar and Lyla managed to hand out a few gifts-so there were some truly beautiful moments. The most shocking thing happened. I have said earlier that I had started a collection of a Lenox china pattern, Winter Greetings-I soon regretted that as it is entirely too expensive for my budget- and I am almost sixty years old. At the rate I was going, I needed to live much longer than members of the tribal communities in Brazil- My mom and sisters gave me twelve dinner plates! I opened the plates with its’ redbirds and ribbons and was on the verge of tears-My sister, Connie told me several times in the process, that this counted for my birthday too and daddy said I ought to be careful with them. I just kept unwrapping more redbirds with ribbons. I finally said “Now, all the children can get married!” -because now, I had a plate for each. It was a touching and funny moment, looking back.
Yesterday, we shared our last Christmas meal of this year. The sunroom needs a ceiling repair and a bedroom needs a new floor-but my table showed indications, that all was well at the rabbit patch. That table was “set by love” by the women in my family and I may sound vain, but it was beautiful!
This morning, is especially quiet and so I have already planned a strategy to avoid a “nervous breakdown” again, today. I will part with some of my other dishes to make room for that china. I will deal with left over food and I will look for Christopher Robin as he took a “a walk-about” and has never done so before. I looked this morning and saw a lifeless creature in the road. I glanced as it is all I could bare to do. I commenced to crying and vowed I could carry on without him. A neighbor saw me upset, and when I told her the story, she declared to me that what I had seen was not Christopher Robin, but a poor little rabbit. I went out again to the dreadful scene and found she was right. I had been crying an hour over losing the sweetest cat I had ever known, but now, with renewed strength, I will search again and proclaim him a naughty and worrisome companion, when I find him. I will fuss about his poor behavior, when a door is opened . . . . but oh, how, I hope I find him.