It sounds corny to say that the most important part of Christmas for our family is being together, but it truly is. With the girls now grown with lives of their own, and everyone balancing the social demands of their acquired /blended/extended families, it is a rare gift to have our family together under one roof.
The Christmas season for us is a series of "stops" on the famjam express. Christmas Eve is the first stop and the first turkey feast at hubby's parents' house. My MIH is Mrs Claus embodied. She revels in the glitter and glitz and bedazzles Noel like no other and it's the sparkling extravaganza that kicks off our seasonal festivities. But there is no denying that this year, our seven-month old niece was the centre piece and the sole object of our attention and affection. The little cherub gurgled and giggled and charmed us all with her good nature, innocence and inquisitiveness. Christmas really is more fun with kids around.
I waited for the girls and their spouse/spice to clear out so I could make like Santa and get the stockings filled. Now that little girls have grown into little women, we get to sleep in past 6 am and luxuriate with a lazy cup of coffee while stockings get opened and hubby wrestles with a semi-frozen 32 pound bird. We opened our gifts leisurely, each of us taking it all in, each - clearly contented. I didn't take as many pictures as usual; I was preoccupied with being present, imprinting moments for posterity.
In the afternoon my Dad, step-mom, step-grand-gram and sister joined us for the Christmas feast. It was one of the quietest Christmas' in recent memory, and we missed our loved ones who couldn't be with us. But there was a special tranquility in the room; a shared gratitude of knowing how fortunate we are; that for one more year, our family is intact, safe and healthy.
December 28th was another stop at hubby's parents' to celebrate MIH's birthday (with chocolate, of course). And if we hadn't had enough of one another yet, we got one more chance at the big family gathering of aunts, uncles and cousins on the twenty-ninth. I can't get enough of the happy faces and chatter of people who obviously enjoy being together. Good food helps! And it doesn't stop there -- the famjam express has one more stop to make this Sunday when we celebrate my Pop's birthday.
So, in a nutshell, the love of family was the best gift of all this year, and one I wish for all of you. For me and my family, it truly has been a merry Christmas.
And to the hydro workers who forfeited their own holiday and have been working around the clock to restore power, I salute you and dedicate this post to you. We appreciate your sacrifice and dedication. Thank you.