My Christmas Pasts often fall into themes- the year of the tree mishaps or the year of the Barbies. If this year had a theme, it would clearly be this for me- the year I fell even more in love with my family.
This post could fall into the 8 Things category, or the edit, add, and appreciate, only it has more than 8 simple thoughts and I would not edit or add to all that I have appreciated over this past week.
On Saturday night we had our neighbors in for a little desert party and I fell asleep thinking of the irony of it all. I was laying down to sleep in what has for years been known as a neighborhood of poverty and here I was, so rich in friends and joy that I could hardly fall asleep for the delight of it all.
On Sunday the children of our church did their annual Christmas pageant and I will never ever ever tire of seeing little angels and tiny Mary’s. C sang an amazing song on Sunday morning at church that didn’t leave many dry eyes in the room. About 35 of us went out after the pageant to a Mexican restaurant together and had such fun. I was smitten with my church family.
The time with the kids has been better than I even hoped it could be. By the time both college kids arrived at the house, I was so anxious I was waiting outside on the porch for them. They have rested well and let me feed them well and they have made me laugh and laugh. We’ve watched movies and played games and each puttered on our own computers and even made a lazy attempt at reading a book together. We had a night out together along with my nephew laughing and seeing tacky Christmas lights and making a memory that we will bring up again and again I’m sure.
Last night we began a new tradition at our family gathering by getting carry out Chinese to take to Mother’s, and to our surprise there seem to be a lot of others who get their Christmas Eve meal at Double Dragon! Everyone was genuinely happy with the thoughtful and generous gifts that we received but more importantly we all just seemed so very happy to all be together. My precious nephew has said several times to me over the weeks before Christmas how much he looked forward to the family all being together and I was so aware of the tender care we all have for each other.
By midnight last night as Christmas Eve slipped into Christmas Day I was so overcome with gratitude and love that I just had to go wake DH up to say so. Poor guy is awakened by a blubbering spouse and of course thinks something terrible has happened, and only this morning did I learn that my girls also heard my muffled sobs and were alarmed. How long have they known me?! Surely by now they should know what to expect!
Today was spent with my extended family on my mother’s side of the family and I don’t think I’ve ever loved those sweet aunts and cousins more than I do on this day. You can count on Christmas lunch being one of the two or three best meals you will eat all year long. The “younger folks” hung out a bit after the two matriarchs left and woven into every story we told was this strong chord of love for our grandmother, each of us adding stories the others may not have heard. My children never knew her, and I was glad for them to hear her spoken of with such love and respect. There have been times when I’ve wondered how long we will still gather on Christmas over the years when our mothers and aunts are no longer with us, and today as we all talked, and as I could hear my kids raucous play in the living room with a younger cousin, I had a strong sense that we will indeed honor our tradition. All of our stories, each and every one of us, have the same beginning and our duty now is to help our children see that their stories start there too .
We stopped by a gathering at my friend and pastor’s house where a number of our friends were gathered and the house was warm and smelled of cider and all our friends were full and cozy and had fallen into that post Christmas dinner laziness.
And alllllllllllllllll of that to say that I am completely and totally besotted with my family- the one of origin and the ones I have chosen – God bless us every one.