We had one very big wrinkle, however, in the form of this unassuming pumpkin:
This pumpkin was one of the benefits of Secondo's fall job, working at a local pumpkin patch. On the last day, he took his pay in the form of pumpkins for everyone to carve, hence the Halloween pumpkin carving party, and this particularly large and spectacular specimen to grace our front stoop. It did a great job providing seasonally appropriate decor through October and November (pumpkins are still appropriate in November!) and into December (because, see above, not getting bent out of shape over details).
So it was still sitting there when Secondo came out of the house early in December, in a fury over being grounded, put on his rubber boots, and delivered a good, solid kick of rage to the pumpkin. He was hoping the pumpkin would explode in a spectacularly satisfying display of destruction. But the nights had been cold-ish, and the pumpkin was pretty much frozen, and instead the thing that gave way was his big toe.
In retrospect, perhaps I should have been a little more concerned with the decor.
Secondo was, of course, completely out of sorts at this news. Instead of getting his winter track season underway as planned, he was facing a very different month hobbling around in a walking cast. Not to mention the fact that he had effectively grounded himself for far longer, since he could not drive with his right foot in that cast.
My seasonal attitude came in handy that day. He loves to cook and bake, so we took it back to basics with the simple meditative exercise involved in making chicken soup together. Peel carrots. Chop onions. Simmer. Skim. Breathe. Repeat.
The Italian wedding soup we produced seemed to cure all evils, at least that night.
This picture is from mid-month, when Primo came home for a few hours to help us get our Christmas tree. (The walking cast is the least problem with that picture! The fact that the boys were in short sleeves, and in Terzo's case, shorts, is even more messed up.) The cast came off on Christmas Eve, in time for him not to clomp up and down the church aisles in his role as head acolyte, and he returned to running winter track this week with no apparent ill effect. It might even have been a blessing in disguise, forcing him to slow down for a month, to take a breather from all the stress and strain of being a high school junior with a lot on his plate.
Every so often, we all need that space to breathe, whether we make it for ourselves or have it handed to us by life's equivalent of a frozen pumpkin.