The most exciting things about the holidays are usually the small stuff that alot of people don't notice. Since we have several young ones at home, the small stuff happens on such a regular basis that I miss them if I am not careful. I especially want to remember several things from this Christmas season, thus today's post.
"Why are there so many Christmas's at our house, mom?" says Tommy.
"There is really only one Christmas, but a lot of celebrations." I said.
"Oh. So when does it all end?" he asked.
"Well, when the last party is over, I guess." I replied.
"I hope the parties are never over." he said.
Me too, Tommy, me too.
I love having all the family and friends around. I think Christmas this year, if there were no little ones in the house, would be almost boring. Their laughter, squeals and excitment have made it the most pleasant. The toys scattered all over, the paper wrapping pushed to the side until I can't stand the mess anymore, the candy and cookie crumbs throughout the place. That's the parts I look forward to.
We often talk about our kids "other families", their birth relatives whom, for various reasons, are no longer connected to our lives. Our Tommy, 5 years old, has two half- brothers that we keep in contact with on a yearly basis, typically through photos that their adoptive mom is great to send us. This year, like many other families, she choose to send online greetings instead of through the mail. Since it is a yearly updated photo, I still wanted to print it out for his scrapbook, and after viewing the Elf Dance video she had placed her childrens faces in, I froze one of the frames and printed it out.
"Look, Tommy. I have a new picture of your birth brothers. Want to see them??"
"Yes!" He was full of excitment until I showed him the photo. He got a disturbed look on his face and, in all seriousness, said, "Mom, they're elves."
I couldn't help but laugh, and tried to explain how it was just a way that their adoptive mom had 'dressed' them up for their Christmas picture.
Again, with a puzzled expression he says, "Now why would a mom do that to her kids?"
We made a gingerbread village on Christmas eve. It was a Norman Rockwell moment, or at least it started out that way. By the time we were done, Mike scraped icing off the wall, there were candy pieces all over the floor, and several of santa's sleigh's had to be reglued after moving the piece to a smaller table in the corner. Magical. Beautiful renditions of a manger scene, Grinch's cave house, and the neighborhood businesses that none of us could live without. You know, Starbucks, Chuck E Cheese, and the local Church. If you squint your eyes you can tell exactly what each one was suppose to be. Completed only by the licorice and candy pathways that separated them all.
Just after dark on Christmas eve, as our extended family was preparing to leave for their own celebrations coming to their homes in the next few hours, Nelly and Meredith put their boots on so they could scatter our homemade "Reindeer Food" on the front lawn, hoping to attract the lively crew to our rooftop. A plate was set for Santa with some of our best Christmas goodies, and Tommy said he hoped the fire would be cooled off before it got too late so Santa could make it down our chimney safely. All of these things must have worked, because the livingroom was overwhelmed with the gifts from Santa and the tree was laden with all the good things that would make our season bright.
Mike and I made it to bed about 2:30 am Christmas morning, just to be jolted awake a half an hour later, to Nelly saying, "Santa was here!!!" Little did she know that just prior to her arrival, Santa nearly forgot to drop his delivery here. We realized something was missing, traipsed back down to the livingroom to make sure all the Santa gifts were indeed in their places, and barely closed our eyes when Nelly appeared as bright as the full moon, waking us from our exhaustion. Oh Nelly!! We sent her back to bed, putting her off to the more reasonable hour of 6:30 am. I was so tired all day long that I had to fight off the urge to slap or bite her everytime I went past!
By noon, all gifts were fully opened, appreciated and finding their way to the other parts of the house. We had breakfasted on candy and cookies left over from the party of the night before, and were dressing for our trip to the Chicago airport to pick up our Jenni and Jeremy who had flown in from Oregon. Our timing was perfect, the coffee we drank on the way helped keep us awake on the 2 1/2 hour trip there, and the kids were peaceful,some even sleeping, as we traveled. We trudged into the small airport, all 7 kids in tow, when Mike said "Faith, look at your daughter."
I looked down at Mere, smiling up at me, and only then realized she was wearing her new clogs to the airport - without untying the string that held them together. Each step we took was accompanied by her quick paced shuffle - just as quickly as she could go with the distance of the string holding them together.
So when I look back at this holiday season, I will think of all the wonderful times we had with friends and family, all the things we did as our own family to celebrate the special days of being together, and look forward to the year ahead, knowing each year goes by much faster than the last one. So much is in store for our new year, but I hope I am not too quick to forget the fun and craziness of this one.