One feature of visiting Ontario that I particularly enjoy is the relaxing familiarity of Pete's parents' house. Every year as I set my suitcase up against the south wall of the bedroom and flip open the lid, top-heavy with balled-up socks and wads of underwear, it's like déjà vu.
The kids quickly reacquaint themselves with the wonders of Opa and Oma's house. There's the marvel of a dog sleeping in his bed behind the stove. ("I want to pet his hairs!" Ariana said over and over.)
There's another Christmas tree, with new ornaments to discover,
puzzles to do at the kitchen table,
and grandparents with whom to cuddle.
As for me, I read Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, knit up most of the Morehouse striped vest for Leif, drew up lists for the New Year, roamed around with my camera and didn't have to cook a single meal.
And when my brother-in-law asked me about a pain in his knee, it required supreme effort to recall anything medical.