Tis the day after Christmas and all through the house
No one is stirring except each of us and our spouse.
We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with Matthew, our youngest son and his girlfriend, Andrea. We spent the day together baking and talking about Christmas memories. Together we went to Mass at our parish. It has always been our tradition to start our Christmas celebrations by attending Mass. In our early years it was at midnight. One year we drove to Ohio on Christmas Eve just to attend Mass at Bob’s uncle’s parish. He was quite surprised to see us. After Mass we had dinner together, continuing our conversations as we enjoyed the wonderful food.
The stockings have been hung on the stairway with care,
Waiting for children and grandchildren to discover them there;
When our children were quite small we tried to introduce them to the idea of giving at Christmas not just receiving. We gave them a small amount of money and let them shop for gifts for us and for their siblings. These gifts went in the stockings that we hung. This continues as they still refer to the gifts they give each other as stocking stuffers. Of course I have expanded my part in this to include little treats in each person’s stocking. As the family has grown we add stockings so now we have 16 hanging on the railing as we go up our stairs.
The children are packing to come here from near and far
They will come by plane, not train, but by car,
We had breakfast with Matthew and Andrea and then they went to spend the day with her family. After they left we exchanged our gifts to each other. With quiet music playing it reminded me of our first Christmases together—BC, before children. Bob commented on how quickly it went but we enjoyed the time together. It still is a delight to think of each other and to buy a special gift. The day was quiet with lots of phone calls as our children spent the day with their “in-law” families. We had a friend join us for dinner. Wonderful conversations and good wishes were shared.
While I don’t wear a kerchief nor Bob a cap,
We might just try for a little nap
The week is ahead is going to be more than busy. Bob once longed for 12 children just as his parents had but I can’t imagine what a week of 12 adults and spouses and their children would be like. Some days when we are alone one or both of us takes a little snooze. It won’t happen this week so catching a little extra sleep today will be a treat.
Soon in the foyer their will be lots of chatter,
We won’t mind, all the noise it won’t matter.
As our children have become adults with their own children we have still managed to gather together for several days each year. After all Christmas is not about one day, it is when we are together. This year we will be together for 4 days. There will be lots of activities. After opening gifts, just like another Christmas morning, the next favorite thing is soup and pie night. Several years ago on Thanksgiving after everyone was admiring the pies I made, the suggestion was that we should have a simple meal one night followed by eating lots of pies. So began the new tradition. Everyone helps make a variety of soups and then I make 4 or 5 different pies, with lots of help. Everyone gets to request their favorite pie and I make it. Our grandchildren have even written stories and talked about it at school. It is a wonderful hit. Following that feast we continue with another tradition. We go around the table and everyone says what has been the best part of the last year. It is wonderful to hear of the beauty and wonder of everyone’s life. This usually includes laughter and at times a few tears. No doubt it adds to the joys that are remembered all year.
As the sun and the moon reflect on the snow,
The days will pass quickly with many memories in tow.
Our daughter, Maria told me that her girls were as excited about coming to Chicago as they were Christmas itself. They did a double countdown – to Christmas and to Chicago. While the adults all have bedrooms of their own, the grandchildren all sleep in the family room in the basement. It becomes their get away from everyone and as they grow older the girls do girl things and the little boys enjoy building with Legos and playing with cars. A TV in the room allows them a little down time most afternoons. Since our children live a distance from each other we have tried various ways to give them a lunch or dinner together, without children. They joke that they can talk about their parents without our knowing what they say. Some years all the women have enjoyed a day out shopping while the guys cared for the children. Each family takes a night to cook. The result is great meals. They buy the food, prepare it and do the clean up. Of course no one has an exclusive day – everyone helps each other as they share wine or drinks. We have tried various things to do alone with the grandchildren. One year we took them out for breakfast and let the adults sleep. It was fun to watch them lay out their clothes so they could get dressed in the morning without waking their parents. They appeared outside our bedroom ready to go. Last year I desired to do a girls day with our granddaughters. We all dressed up, had everyone take our picture; then I treated them to manis and pedis and we went out to lunch. I’ve already scheduled their appointment for this year. While Elizabeth is a little older than the others she amazingly joins in the spirit and fun. They can’t wait for Greta, who is one, to join us as this has begun a new tradition. Bob is trying to figure out something to do with our grandsons. If nothing else, he may just treat them to lunch.
Before we all know it the time will pass by
And they will go with whispers and shouts of goodbye
I will hear them exclaim as they go out of sight
“It was another good Christmas and we’re filled with delight.”
This year my niece is joining us for part of the time; so for two days their will be 18 of us together. It will be wonderful days with memories that we will store in our hearts until we see each other again. After all the years one would think I would have learned to say goodbye. But as I hug them and kiss them goodbye I still find it difficult not to cry. But then with God’s grace and abundance there will be another time next year to celebrate together with old traditions and some new. As the door closes and the quiet is restored we breathe a sigh and thank God for the gifts of our love that continues to grow each year.
We hope your holidays have been as wonderful and joy filled as we expect ours to be. Emmanuel, God, is certainly with us.
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