I hope your Christmas was joy-filled and peaceful. And if you celebrate something different my hope is that you wore a lot of those teeth bearing curtains. As the old song goes, ‘over the hills and through the woods to Grandma’s house we go!’ And that is exactly what we did. Except that Grandma is in heaven and Grandpa lives in Yakima, WA. It’s the same house my Mom and her siblings grew up in. Humble in size and bursting with nostalgia. There are pictures of the red siren, my Grandma Therese, left all over as well as every other school, dance and family snapshot you or I has ever sent there. Ever. Nothing goes to waste not pictures or tea bags or previously used ziplock bags. Everything has a story and a purpose, just like all of us.
Nothing fills this hopelessly romantic heart like Christmastime. I watched my Grandpa play his magic-piano for Otto and Hobbs. Hobbs wobbled around on two feet like a show dog. Head bobbing, paws in the air panting, loving every ounce of praise and attention. He has us well-trained. We clap at everything. I don’t mind at all. Clapping is a natural cheer-boosting technique. My days of rallying will never truly be over. I’m a Cheerleader at heart.
YES, WE CAN! RAH! RAH! RAH! YOU CAN TOO! RAH! RAH! RAH!
My Mom and I have been doing the same Christmas program for 22 years. She used to dress me in ruffles and tights, tiara’s and lights. Yes, lights. She once duct taped a battery pack to my back, the lights were sewn into the hem of my very large ruffled dress. My hair would be done up like a rodeo queen, sparkles and blush on my cheeks. White gloves. Always. And a pucker of red on my lips. She was the Nutcracker in the act. Black and Navy jackets, gloves, and the most extraordinary hats one has ever seen. Grand almost as if they were a real uniform. Something you’d see and instinctively want to salute. Even big girls like to play dress up. This year however, we had no white gloves. I wore what I had been wearing all day, and for all intents and purposes my Mom wore her snow-queen cape. I am bigger now in so many ways. Older, with kids of my own I have the first signs of crows feet and no ruffly dress… and it is enough. Just being there, crows feet and all. We stood before Grandpa and Uncle Greg, Aunt Ladawn, Eric and the boys. SHOW TIME! As Grandpa would say, “Eat your heart out Julie Andrews!”
The night was spent at Mass. At one point the Priest invited all the children to come down front and sit with him while he read a Christmas story. Otto loves the spotlight. Or any light, really. There he was front and center head banging and air drumming hymns next to Father Cervantez. Yep, that’s my kid I smiled. And when the choir slowed down he accordingly began the slow wave, both arms in the air softly swaying side to side. Dude is made to rock. God knows that, duh.
Cookies check, note to Santa check, reindeer food, check, stockings, check, check, check. The house soon fell silent. The morning brought satisfaction for Otto especially. The cookies were all but crumbs and that glass of milk was bone dry. HE WAS HERE! And that night after wrapping paper mounds were tucked away and the train set had been on for 6 hours we sang Happy Birthday Jesus. Just the way my Grandma would have wanted. She always made a birthday cake for Jesus. This time, cheesecake.
We did what we came to do, we gave Grandpa a little magic back since losing my Grandma. A tree hadn’t been up for 7 years. He thanked us profusely for coming and bringing such joy into his home. He also told me I was the crown jewel of our family, because I made everyone smile. He also said, I sparkle. This however comes from a blind guy so I don’t know how much of that I can trust. (He’d like that joke) The story is I usually have really great big ideas and then about 24 hours before I’m ready to launch said ideas I want to quit. First comes chickening out then reasoning and rationalizing why we’re all better off at home.. nap schedules, busy week and blahziddy blah blah. I mostly don’t listen to this crap anymore. Or at least not for long. And even while the tape is playing there’s a sweeter more melodic tune of truth that tells me to do the next best indicated thing; usually that involves a power nap. Naps are healing. Sleep is NOT a waste of time. It clears the fog and lightens the load. So, I slept on the way there and wouldn’t you know, I was little miss social butterfly upon arrival. Note to self *Its never as bad as I think it will be.
Today we’ll take down the decorations and wash traveled laundry. We’ll eat left over ham and laugh about Uncle Greg. At some point I’ll put pen to paper and write out my Thank-you’s. So many people went into making this Christmas special for our family. Mostly though, I’m thankful for a Loving God. The one that loves me after a long week of no meetings and over caffienating myself. Looking forward to a new year… what sort of mishaps and fun will we be getting into?! We shall wait and see. I have a feeling they involve tiny baby wieners and more swiffer wet jet pads.
I’d like to leave you with this, “Adventure isn’t something you do. The adventure is your life. Recognize, how sweet it is. Let those winds of change blow. God, help me cultivate a spirit of adventure in my life.”- from the Author Melanie Beatty