The Afterglow of Holiday Intensity

Ah, Christmas afternoon. The presents have been opened, brunch has been consumed, and we have enjoyed time with all of our relatives, both near and far. After good-byes and thank-yous, they have all headed out to their next destination. Time to sit down, pour some Christmas cheer (in the form of Baileys and cream), and seriously geek out with our new presents.

Dave and E are playing a game of Doctor Who chess, A is jumping around as an Avenger on the Xbox Kinect, H is playing with her new American Girl doll wearing her T.A.R.D.I.S. shirt, and I am hunting for a new book on my Kindle. Intensities were bundled up for the morning, rolled and wrapped in thick Christmas paper, and taped up tight. It’s not that our extended families don’t have their own intensities – they do – but putting all of our emotional, sensory and psychomotor intensities on display, mixed in with holiday goodies (read: sugar) during a family get-together on Christmas, is more than Dave and I can really handle.

So, we have developed our own Christmas afternoon tradition. Unwrapping our intensities is the last thing we do on Christmas, as the collective house breathes a sigh of relief. We tear open our emotional intensity boxes first, and joyful exuberance bursts into the room. Psychomotor intensity comes next, the box feverishly hopping around the room before finally being freed from its constraints to run whooping loudly through the house.  Soft blankets come out, and backs and feet are rubbed as we open our sensory gifts. And finally (finally!) our imaginational and intellectual intensities take flight as we explore all of the wonderful presents we gave each other, and received.

We can talk excitedly among ourselves about how cool the gifts are, play with each one individually, and examine the nooks and crannies of each piece. We don’t have to explain to anyone what it is, or why we like it so much, or feel so strongly about it. We all just know. The light in our eyes during these moments is more than just excitement; it’s knowing that someone truly understands us, and love and embraces us for who we are.

It’s in these moments that I genuinely see our family’s intensities as the gifts they are, each one worthy of unwrapping, sharing, and celebrating. I’m so glad we opened them today.

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