Dec 14, 2009

A Cherished Diary Entry

One of my most treasured possessions is the small leather-bound journal my mother kept. Her tiny, meticulous handwriting fills the entire book. This particular journal was kept during the period of my childhood, which is likely why I enjoy it so well.

Opening it, the scent of leather, old paper, and a faint scent of vanilla fill the air around me. The red ribbon bookmark is in entry dated Christmas Morning the year I turned 11.

Laying there in the warmth of the fire, I listened to his slow, steady breathing. I smiled to myself as the breathing turned a bit gravel-like. Soon the hearty snoring would start. Over the years the sleep-filled noises of that oft-broken nose have become dear to me. How many years has it been anyway? Three? Twelve? Twenty? In my drowsy, dreamlike state, it was difficult to remember exactly.

I looked over at him laying beside me on the blanket he had laid in front of the fire in the parlor of Caisteal Teanacadh. This has been our tradition for many years . has been many. Each Christmas Eve that we have the good fortune to be in our own home that is. Once Eva has been snugly tucked into her bed with many quilts and one of Jamie's plaids draped over her (She has to have his plaid each night, she says because "it smells like Da - full of sunshine, earth, and hard work." From the mouth of babes...) we settle ourselves in the parlor. Jamie builds the fire up with wood and peat as I pour the whisky and serve him a Christmas cookie or two.

Each year, we dream together on this special night. We will have gone to Christmas Eve Mass with the family earlier in the evening, which inevitably fills us both with such joy and hope that we can't but help thinking about what the future may bring even as we list the things that we are most thankful for from the waning year. What will we be doing? Where might we travel together? Will Eva continue to grow as strong in both body and mind as she seems to be doing? When will we start her training in whisky making? or sword play?

"Sword play!?!" I teased Jamie earlier.

"Aye, Sassenach, sword play. She is mine. Nay doubt canna be when one looks at her - red hair flying in the wind, a few freckles speckling her dear face, the blue and gold of her eyes. Even the way she carries herself when she walks or rides. But the shape of her eyes and her lovely mouth, those are yours, mo chride."

At this he caressed my lips and began whispering in Gælic to me. Words of love and endearment. Words that I rarely, if ever, heard from other men regardless of language - and spoken in such a manner that my skin warmed and flushed without any physical effort on his part or mine.

The discussion of her education in the finer points of swordplay would wait.

And now I sit here at my little writing table in the first light of dawn watching him again as he sleeps the deep sleep of someone safe and loved. Honestly, I think the man could sleep anywhere/anytime. But he never sleeps very deeply save when he is in his own home by his own fire feeling the love of his family.

He is my gift. A gift given to me completely unexpectedly years ago on a winter's night . A gift I shall treasure all my days - and beyond.

And now the bells of the kirk are ringing - announcing Christmas morning. Merry Christmas, indeed!