For the record, a January 1 deadline for any kind of manuscript is a very bad idea. And when for some unknown reason you picked that date yourself you have no one else to blame. Holidays must be celebrated and books must be written and there's not much else to say about that...except sometimes you have a child who you want to appreciate the Christmas spirit. You want them to have the best Christmas ever and not be overly affected by impending deadlines and that takes a strength of character and focus that I have not always maintained as well as I would have liked this year.
Still Amaya has assured me that what she wants most is for all of us to be together as a family and enjoy ourselves. There's a special emphasis on that word because all too often lately we've been consumed by thoughts of work. It's too easy to be distracted these days with the internet and email a single finger's swipe away and haven't we all we been guilty of looking at a phone while a child patiently, or not so patiently, waits for our attention. In spite of this the tree has been decorated and the stockings have been hung. The presents have been bought (but not yet wrapped.) There's stollen in the pantry and cookie dough in the fridge. The next few days will be a whirlwind of activity and joy and that's what all the hard work is for. It's the joy. It's the big smile and the squeeze of hands and that moment when she leans against me and whispers "I love you." That moment is what makes all the hard work worthwhile and it's what the holidays are all about.