I met the town of Newton, New Jersey after leaving the streets of New York.
I met my step uncle and looked into the eyes of a little one. Weeks old. Born December 2nd. The day after my birthday.
I held my cousin. Levon Charles. Sleepy and small; Seeing with the lens of discovery and love at this imperfect space rock. My step uncle calls him Bright Eyes, with a twinkle in his own. A father’s tangible love.
Altogether. Grandparents, aunt, father, sister. We broke literal bread. Porridge loaf slices with hummus and baba ganoush. Sliced beets and salted mushroom caps with almond chive spread and raspberries.
I found a newfound love for chocolate mylk made from peas. A jug I picked up with curiosity at the local Green Life Market.
I’ve never loved chocolate milk as a kid. Overly thick and unrefreshing in the face of true thirst. Like my feelings on eggnog. In adulthood, I see the light.
Gathering fruit, meat and cheese on a table, we gather our bodies and wine glasses near the coffee table. Catching up. Work, school, hugs, smiles.
Mine was imaginatively plant-based. Kind of the chef to provide options, as I was happy just being with family and snacking on bread.
Potato ceviche. Pesto soup. Baby kale and golden beet salad.
Sauteed eggplant stir-fry with brown rice. Orange and hibiscus sorbet.
With this visit- my heart is full. With new members we grow our clan and our happiness.
My aunt already has dreams of her little boy running through the grass with feathers in his hair. Bright Eyes. Levon has a thrilling existence ahead of him. Raised on almond butter and Tom Petty concert tapes. Climbing rocks and learning evergreen names on forest paths less traveled, and mostly by fairies.
This is my family. We eat good food. We take long walks in winter sunlight, have too many cats, and get lost in antique shops. We celebrate meeting, and the chance at meeting again on each other’s front steps.
We are growing. And during the holiday I am filled with gratitude that this happens to be the case.
I left Newton knowing I’ll be back. It turns a goodbye into “see you soon.”
I hope this time of the year fills you with a love like this.