Slow for a few days: slow cooking – cookies, pastries, all the trimmings for Christmas dinner – polishing, cleaning, wrapping presents, festive decorating – and then two perfect days of food and conversation, board games and laughter.
On Christmas Eve, after the dishes were done and the extra guests had left, my daughter and her husband sat with me for a bedtime recap of the day. I don’t know, Katie said, if I can continue this tradition. It is all so…much! Katie is a doctor, her husband the CEO of a social media company; their lives are intense, fast-paced. Katie is on call for the rest of the holidays; Ben has various meetings scheduled, emerging issues, new challenges. They live in a beautiful condo downtown Vancouver, but all of us smile at the image of our Christmas clan – and trimmings – shoehorned into the space.
At first I thought, perhaps it doesn’t matter. Perhaps these traditions are simply the continuation of “women’s work,” a kind of subjugation to kitchen that is no longer appropriate in this new world. But by morning I had rethought. Although it no doubt will have to continue differently – and it has to become the work of everyone – I’m pretty sure that this “women’s work” – slow, loving, knitting together of family and friends – is essential to continue. I say work, because I’m pretty sure that what’s important is that it can’t be instant – a phone call to a caterer, let’s say. I think what matters – and it matters now more than ever as the pace of living increases – is that it is Slow.