Aside from this season being the busiest for me professionally, our (math/science focused and a bit writing adverse) high school senior is in the throws of writing her college application essays, and needed my undivided attention. I had to have the intense and copious “homeschooling back-up” done for her college applications as well. We were having our two out-of-town kids home, one from the other side of the country, and the other who had not been home since last Christmas. Our downstairs bathroom was having a small flood into our basement, so workmen for the two days before Christmas were making an incredible racket ripping up the floor so we could use the facilities. To say I was unprepared for Christmas was an understatement. I had barely even gotten to the grocery store.
I had been putting one step in front of the other, and by Christmas Eve was writing our annual Christmas card, which got out that day, although riddled with typos. We celebrated our oldest’s birthday and made cookies. We brought in the tree, went to church to express gratitude for the Christ child and have some blessed silent communion, and came home to get out the lights and ornaments. In good humor, while reminiscing, we finished trimming the tree at 12:20 am, when it was already officially Christmas. With one of our kids on California time, and the other having returned home rather sleepless from doing finals and papers for five classes– much to our youngest’s dissatisfaction– we knew Christmas morning wasn’t going to start too early. So we went to bed to finish wrapping and stuffing stockings in the morning.
By 10:30 am the house looked like shown below, although Christmas has a way of trashing a house very quickly as you can also see in the following photos. We made a delicious coffee cake. Old stuffed animals and a favorite childhood doll came downstairs for old-times’ sake. We had fun opening modest gifts. Our son loved his new cargo pants with 14 pockets. Our oldest daughter gave everyone beautiful leather gloves that we can still wear while texting. Our youngest loved her set of professional beading tools, and she gave her dad and sister the lovely pottery pieces she made, that are shown below. Our own siblings were overly generous. There was the gift of a cool pair of scissors (shown below) especially made for cutting up herbs. There were fewer books than usual since our kids now use ereaders and got money from relatives to fuel those instead. I made pottery for my husband (which I’ll feature on the blog soon) and he made me a tissue box cover in Polly Orange for my office. And through it all was an overriding theme of sugar and chocolate.
Unable to figure out a game we could all play together for various and sundry ridiculous reasons, by late afternoon, when I emerged back downstairs to make dinner, I found the table already set and four companionable people together quietly reading in our small, but by now very littered living room. Our dinner was simple but delicious: salmon, roasted butternut squash, pears (fancy gifted ones from Harry & David), salad with baby romaine, avocado, parmesan cheese, dried cranberries, and fig/scallion dressing. For dessert there were frosted sugar cookies and pear frangipani tart.
It was a good day all around, and I’m very grateful we were able to be all together. Since I celebrate my faith all year long, this holiday seemed to me more of an excuse for family to be together, and I’m alright with that. Maybe some year I’ll be better prepared, but I’ll never love them more than now, which is to say, completely.
I hope you had a good day too. Let’s bring the promise that began with such meek beginnings in that stable so long ago forward, in our individual lives as well as in collective ways. I send my earnest love to all of you!