I checked my pre-Christmas to-do list. Everything was accomplished except one thing — writing this post. My intention was to write it before the family arrived — and to never be writing when the deadline is looming. But, alas, it didn’t happen.
I’ll share a few ponderings from our holiday:
Did Christmas happen as planned? Not exactly. My daughter and husband arrived right on schedule. My son and family planned to arrive Friday evening, but didn’t get here until late Saturday morning. We didn’t do our open-one-gift-on-Christmas-Eve deal. Christmas morning breakfast which was planned for Saturday was postponed to Sunday morning when we were all present.
Did my family of mostly introverts have space and quiet? Mostly not. Every inch of the house was filled with people and stuff. Some got to sleep in a bedroom with a door; some slept in the living room. The drizzly weather kept us inside with Darth Vader (a.k.a nearly four-year-old grandson) flying around making guttural noises.
Personal schedules? They were set aside. The only one who came close was grandson and his nap time. Shower times were flexible. No one ever said if the hot water ran out. Bathrooms were not always available. Any seat left unattended was immediately taken by someone else.
What made it work? Everyone was flexible for the rare two days we were together. No one complained or seemed inconvenienced. And everyone helped out. Christmas trash got bagged up, the dining table got cleared, leftovers got stashed in the fridge, grandson got played with, food got prepared. We all worked. We all played. We all had a good time.
The gifts? Perfect and surprising and fun and delightful.
The food? When asked if he had gotten enough to eat, son-in-law replied, “Jean, if I starved to death at your house, it would be my own fault.” My question was unnecessary, but I always ask, just in case. The rest of the story is that I didn’t make everything from scratch as I usually do. I bought some ready-made items, and kept meals tasty but simple. My goal was to spend time with family, not show off my culinary skills, or be in the kitchen.
Because we are spread across the country and all have full schedules, getting together for a holiday — or for any time at all — is challenging. This holiday get-together was not an event we planned much in advance; it happened nearly at the last minute. Perhaps that’s the best way. Our expectations were kept in check, we remained flexible, and went with the flow.
Christmas for us isn’t today — it was last Saturday. My heart is still warm from having us all together for a few days. The gifts were nice but not necessary. The food was good — and necessary — but not the focal point. Perhaps the crowded house and inclement weather added their own bit to our holiday. No one could go far. We were in it together. And enjoy it we did.
Until next Tuesday . . . in the new year.