I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about life and love in midlife. I like to say that here at PrimeCrush we're studying midlife. Why? For one thing, I've found that it's so much cooler than they said it would be. Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.
Hope you're finding a little bit of calm this holiday storm season. I am enjoying a surprisingly relaxed week at my parents' home in New England. It's a big family holiday this year, and we celebrate both Hannukah and Christmas in ours.
We are offering an abbreviated Crush Letter this week – I was tempted to write more, but I realize that in the seasonal madness most of you don't have time to read it.
I love our featured short story Leave the Husband, Bring the Cannoli by frequent PrimeCrush contributor A.K.A. Darla. It is the very essence of "midlife relationships" to me, as it speaks to what so many of us live through – divorce – and more pointedly, the families that re-form after one. Whether you're divorced yourself, or it's your parents, your partner or a friend, it takes a particulalry big heart and a lot of openness to make room for the new additions. (When it's possible, and I know it's not always possible.) In it's selflessness and big-heartedness, this is also a particularly holiday story.
And speaking of stories, you have to take a glance at my Social Media pick this week. It's very quick and it will remind you that there is kindness (and creativity) around every corner.
My friend (and Crush frequent contributor) Bob Guccione Jr. sent me the best holiday wishes today, which I'd like to offer up to you, in turn:
Have a great time! Rest, relax, eat, drink, eat more, drink more, love and be loved! Which is a great prescription for life in general, actually.
If you're new here (welcome!), I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies. For more about me and why we're here go here.
In This Letter. +Leave the Husband, Bring the Cannoli. By A.K.A. Darla When you’re Italian, you are raised to believe it is a sin to arrive at someone's home empty-handed. +Social Media I Loved This Week. By Dish Stanley But the sparkles must be non-toxic. +Song of the Week Let your heart be light
Leave the Husband, Bring the Cannoli. By A.K.A. Darla
Snowed in without warning with her ex and his new partner the night before Christmas turned out to be one writer’s Christmas miracle.
One Christmas Eve at the crack of dawn, my ex-husband phoned to ask a favor. He had broken his right foot while skiing the previous day and was unable to make the drive to pick up our daughter for their Christmas Eve visit. With urgency in his voice, he asked if I could bring our daughter to the suburban home he shared with his girlfriend and promised that his girlfriend would drive our daughter home that night. In the spirit of the season, I agreed.
Visions of sugarplums did not dance in my head. This would be my first time meeting the “GF” and I feared this would stress my daughter as much as it stressed me. Besides, her memories of me and her father together in the same room were not the happiest. Over breakfast, I explained the situation. She asked questions appropriate for a seven-year-old, then dressed in her new Christmas outfit, and we were on our way.
When you’re Italian, you are raised to believe it is a sin to arrive at someone's home empty-handed. To avoid an eternity in hell, we stopped at the bakery before heading to the train. Inside, patrons awaited their turn while chatting over the strains of a Dean Martin Christmas CD. When we got to the front of the line, I ordered cookies for my daughter and, as a Christmas peace offering, ordered my ex-husband’s favorite confection: cannoli.
Walking to the train, I carried the sweets in my left hand and held tight to my daughter’s mitten-covered hand with my right, all the while watching her own right hand proudly swing a small gift bag for her dad and his significant other.
The train was full of good cheer, especially from the riders walking back from the bar car, and I made a note to pay a visit there on my way home. This ride was new to me, but my daughter had made this trip many times with her dad. She even knew her way to the taxi stand where we got a car to her dad’s house. Driving by the homes lit with holiday decor made me long for Christmases past, Christmases before the divorce, when we celebrated as a little family. Then, to add to my nostalgia, it began to snow.
The car stopped in front of my ex’s house and my daughter pulled me all the way to the front door as it opened on her dad standing on crutches. He invited us inside and we made our way to the kitchen where the GF was hanging mistletoe. I introduced myself and offered my olive branch of cannoli and cookies. She asked if I’d like a glass of wine. I told her I’d love some wine (boy, would I love some wine!) but really should catch the next train back.
“I don’t think you’re going anywhere,” said the ex, pointing to the window. Those festive flurries had now turned to a hard and fast snowfall, and I asked the GF if she would drive me to the station. Certain that the trains would not be running, she suggested I call the railroad before we headed out. And as if written into the plot of a cheap horror movie, a recorded message announced that all trains back to the city were canceled until further notice. I asked for that glass of wine.
My daughter and her dad sat cozy by the Christmas tree, watching movies and sipping cocoa, as the GF and I got to know each other. Suddenly, I realized that this was the woman who would help care for my daughter on her visits here every other weekend, and I quietly decided we should be friends. We made lunch. Still no trains. From a news report in the other room, I heard the National Weather Service declare a blizzard in the area. My ex could not stop laughing. We were officially snowed in.
The GF and I spent the evening at the kitchen table, eating cannoli, sipping wine and coffee, and talking. Sometimes it was awkward, sometimes it was effortless. She told me she could introduce me to some single men. I told her I was doing okay in that department.
Once my daughter was off to bed, I headed for the guest room where strange as it seems, I fell into a peaceful sleep. I woke up on Christmas morning with no gifts to give my daughter. All I had to offer was a house full of three people who loved her very, very much.
Social Media I Loved This Week. By Dish Stanley
“Yes Madeline. Yes you can. But the sparkles must be non-toxic.” Marcia Mayeda, the Director of Animal Control In L.A. County you’re my hero. Must Read.
Song of the Week
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas By Daniela Andrade (cover)
In a fabulous acoustic version of this holiday classic, Daniela Andrade gets an assist from her sweet, adoring pup Little Dina. Be still my heart. Thank you to Crush Reader kt for sharing this with us.
However you celebrate the holidays and New Year, enjoy!
You Won't Want to Miss A Thing. Here Are Links to Some Favorites.
+ And so this is Christmas? By Lisa Ellex One PrimeCush writer urges us all, this holiday season, to choose peace over all else.
+ Holiday Invites: Say “Yes” to “No" By Lauren D. Weinstein You know that “thing” you didn’t want to go to? One PrimeCrush writer gives you permission to stay happily at home.
+ How to Be the Most Charming Person at a Party. By Evie Arnaude Want to be someone who’s invited to all the most sought-after soirées? We have the perfect cheat sheet for you.
+ The Holiday Anti-Checklist. By Liza Lentini A very different sort of guide that goes inwards and honors what’s really important, because the holidays - and that includes a New Year - aren’t the same, and neither are you.
+ Holiday Perspectives. By Dean Christopher What might our familiar holidays have been under other circumstances? One writer explores a fun and clever reimagining.
+ I Am My Own Family. By Evangeline Villa In a world where being alone is shunned upon—what if I’m truly all I ever needed?