Mike and I have a fundamental difference in our outlooks on life. He would be considered by most to be an optimist, and as someone who deals with numbers day and in and day out, he has statistics to back him up most of the time. As much as I hate this term, I suppose I would be a pessimist, although I prefer to consider myself a realist because that seems slightly less distasteful and — more to the point — more accurate. It’s not that I think bad things WILL happen to us, it is just that I realize that bad things COULD happen to us. They happen to SOMEONE and I wager that those someones aren’t particularly interested to hear that they beat the odds, so to speak. I realized last week that we’re going to have to work on our approach before Ellie gets old enough to ask tough questions about tragic events, because I don’t think that a 5-year-old will be satisfied with “Statistically speaking, that is unlikely to happen!” nor particularly comforted by “But it cooouuuuld!”
I was thinking, too, that I’m a little unsure about how we’re going to explain Christmas to Ellie once she is old enough to understand. We celebrate the religious side of Christmas in addition to the presents-trees-and-candy-canes side, and I think that the Christmas story itself is an odd one, with babies and angels and wise men and evil emperors and virgin births, and when you throw Santa and reindeer and ELVES into the mix, well, it’s all really quite ludicrous, isn’t it? That might be why I love Christmas so much, though, because it’s remarkable and magical and requires a healthy dose of imagination. I love the idea that any of it COULD happen, you know? The shepherds in the fields, visited by an army of angels, possibly thinking to themselves, “Well. This was unexpected!” Little kids going to bed, all hopped up on cookies and adrenaline, knowing Santa was going to stop by THEIR HOUSE on his improbable trip around the world. Songs with lyrics like “and the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom” only INCREASING in popularity as time passes. It’s all a little bit nuts, isn’t it? But I love it. I really do. So I’d like to wish you all a magical Christmas, if you celebrate it, and a happy day with lots of whatever you love, if you don’t.