Some things were within our control, and some were not. But in the end, it all worked out, and I'm looking back fondly on what initially caused me some consternation.
Isn't that a good word, consternation?
First, instead of bemoaning the fact that my parents don't celebrate Christmas anymore (and haven't for about a decade), I embraced giving, Hanukkah style. I decided to give them eight little Hanukkah gifts and deliver them at odd times to their porch each day of Hanukkah (which, this year was Dec 17-24). My MO was to "drop and run".
The only time I stayed was on night one, and only because my sister and baby niece were there. That baby is irresistible.
Eight days of drop-and-run was my plan, anyway, until I got the flu. Or rather, it got me.
I was much too sick by the time the eighth day came.
We were all sick. Too sick to even have our adult kids over for Christmas Eve, too sick to go to a service, too sick to cook or bake or anything typical of Christmas Eve here. We rescheduled for Saturday.
My friend Bonnie came over on Christmas Eve night to deliver her annual plate of homemade cookies. She also gave me a tube of "Beautiful Day" hand lotion and told me that I'm her beautiful day. She said it very seriously, that every day of being friends is a beautiful day. I can't tell you how much that meant.
Since I was sick, I kept my distance, but Bonnie said she really wanted a hug before she left. That part was very typical. It's how we roll. But when I opened the door to say goodbye (and chat more, of course), the cold air set off a coughing jag.
Then my mom called and begged me not to come over with a gift, but rather stay in and get well. She said they were having so much fun finding my gifts on the porch and were very touched, but to please don't venture out in the bone-chilling air.
I told her I had planned not to come that day, much as I wanted. (Secretly what I wanted was for her to bring me some of her famous potato soup that she always fixed when we were little and recovering from illness. But since she has a hard time being on her feet, I didn't ask. I also secretly wanted my dad to bring over some cough drops, not because we were out of them, but because he used to work for a pharmacy as a delivery man when he was going to seminary in 1974. He would bring us Sucrets throat lozenges, like candy. I guess I was craving nostalgia and TLC from my mama and daddy.)
Next day--Christmas Day--what happens? They call and ask what we need. I say cough medicine. She says, "Got lunch plans?" and I think I mumbled "canned soup." She heard everyone coughing in the background and said, "Okay, I won't keep you. We'll be over with lunch."
Lo and behold, they dropped off some of Mama's homemade potato soup AND vegetable soup, plus Robitussin, cough drops, Gatorade, Whoppers candy, and other stuff.
God knew. Jehovah-Jireh ("he sees and provides") . He saw my wants and my needs. He provided therapies in a special way: He used sickness to unite me with my parents on December 25th, a day that has, for 10 years, divided us . I was overcome with gratitude. It was the beginning of healing in more ways than one.
Then Saturday finally came and we got to celebrate with the kids. They said they actually liked it better this time, not cramming in Christmas eve service, meal, gift exchange, two families, their own Christmas AND my daughter-in-law's mother's wedding (which is TODAY!). They appreciated the relaxed pace and low expectations--and the gifts, of course.
Her little brother did a painting in art class, and the teacher had artwork printed on mugs and other keepsakes. My daughter was surprised that it made her cry to receive such a personal gift from him.
If the boys don't come to you for pictures, you have to go to them. Xbox One was a new gift and they couldn't get enough.
My three favorite girls.
(Photo credit: Hubby, who didn't feel well enough to pose.)
And finally, my favorite photo. Steve (in brown) had been trying to find a place for his hand. Her hip?Her waist? Her shoulder? His side? "I never know what to do with my hand. It just sort of hangs there awkwardly."
To which Ben (tall guy) says, "What hangs there awkwardly?"