Friday, December 26, 2008

a different sort of Christmas...

In Christmases past, I would drive to my parents' home on Christmas Eve and begin the celebration by eating dinner (usually dad's yummy enchiladas) and all of us rushing off to the evening candlelight service. I would sing favorite Christmas hymns and hear the story of our Savior's birth and try not to drip candlewax on the floor. I would sing in harmony with my dad in the glow of the candlelight and greet faces I usually see only once a year. We then would run home, set out the cookies and eggnog and settle in for the opening of the gifts. Dad would wear bows on his head and yell "it's underwear!" when he opened his gifts. We would laugh and share our many thanks for the generous giving. Penny would sigh on the landing or try and sniff our heads through the railing because she, being the obstinate dog, was not allowed in the room where everyone was so merrily getting along. And we would stay up too late, usually one or two in the morning, before our laughter subsided and we all dragged ourselves to bed. Christmas morning found some rising for church and others welcoming the chance to sleep in. We would all gather again midday as other family began to arrive, and the laughter would again return. We would talk for hours and eat a wonderful meal of ham, mashed potatoes, and other nice trimmings. Those were the times of the past, wonderful memories and times to be had.

This year brought a different sort of Christmas. I found myself not able to go down to my parents' home this year, as an on-call phone kept me locked to this county. I was blessed to be invited to join a friend and her family in their Christmas festivities. We drove to her parents' home in time for dinner, and then helped wrap the gifts not yet wrapped. We watched a movie and settled into the trailer outside the house. It was an adventure. I woke somewhere around 5am between a random text from a friend and the rooster telling us it was time to wake up. I felt like the cows did in the commercial that "hit the snooze alarm" by kicking the rooster...but it was too cold to move and do anything about it. I snoozed off and on until about 7:30. The heater stopped working and my friend and I wondered if the power was off. It was pouring outside, a symphony of rain and wind pounding the trailer. Indeed, it had, and we could not awaken to Amy Grant's voice singing Christmas carols...but alas! Her father came out with falsetto and umbrella to rouse us out of bed. We rolled out of the trailer and into the house, where children were smiling and saying "Merry Christmas!" Bacon filled the air with its scent and we all settled around the tree. The lights came back on, and so followed Amy Grant, as we all passed around the gifts. My favorite was watching the excitement of the boys as they received their favorite gifts! Wall-e! Veggietales! Squeals of joy...I wanted to feel that kind of joy again. We finished opening gifts and devouring breakfast, and got ready for the day. We bounded off to the movies and back for a delicious dinner before returning back to home.

I have to admit despite the fun and blessing of sharing this family's Christmas, I missed my own. I quietly wanted to be somewhere else in the slower moments of the day even though I was enjoying myself. It was a feeling of being torn.

Today, the day after Christmas, my dad and little "big" brother drove up with food and presents in tow. I got my dad's enchiladas and leftover ham, and enough cookies to bring a smile to anyone's face. We opened up our gifts in front of our "O Henry tree", as we so lovingly call it. We went downtown for lunch and back to my house for a viewing of Wall-e, as I was so excited to get it! And they had not seen it yet either! I made yummy chili and cornbread for dinner and we enjoyed the day together. It was a different sort of Christmas indeed. I was amazingly blessed, not only by my family and their generosity, but by another family and their love. And in a way, maybe this Christmas is a preparation for the new Christmases I am going to forge as I eventually start my own family with my own traditions.

Here are a few candid shots of my family and I breaking tradition and making our own fun:

1 comment:

Katie said...

You and your family are so cute!