It hasn't slipped my brain that I haven't posted a darn thing about Christmas. Probably because I associated a little post traumatic stress syndrome with the family visit. I was so sick the entire time. Plagued with those darn headaches, then there was the incredible smoking grandma, a mini blizzard, trying to sleep in a home that was above eighty degrees, and tying to keep our dog away from smoking grandma. It was work. A lot of work. The saving graces were certainly my sister, my daddy, friends, and S's family. Seriously, S's family - they were really nice and flexible and didn't say anything when we could only see them a few times. In a nut shell it was chaos. But despite the chaos there was a lot of moments of true beauty.
For starters this was the first Christmas I can remember (as an adult) where my entire family exchanged gifts from the heart, not just for the sake of buying something. My sister actaully made me a pair of awesome Pirate PJ's and a new MP3 player. I am always complaining about my old one - it was hooked up to the computer when we got a surge of lightning and it hasn't been the same since, but it works (sort of) - and M was so sweet to give me a new one. And that is just one example. Our friends and family all gifted C such nice things and toys, ones he truly loves. Lots of Lego's! Not one toy fell apart, was a double, or was just for the sake of buying something, everything was thoughtful and a real gift - really for all of us. It was fun to receive and to give.
E's gift, the fan club in a box, was a huge hit. She loved it! We all gathered at my cousins house on Christmas Eve and the kids got to open presents first. We went by age, so E was in the middle. Her gift was such a hit that I actaully felt a little bad for the kids who went after her - LOL - but only for a second, all the kids were just so cute and all so excited and well behaved! All of them! C, my cousin, put on a great family party. J, our bestest family friend dressed up as Santa, it was a riot. She's a pretty curvy girl and to see her laugh and say Ho, Ho, Ho had us all busting a gut! One of the older kids yelled out "how come Santa has boobs?" We were all tying to be grown ups about it, but we just couldn't stop laughing.
We gathered with lots of friends. I got a chance to get together with my oldest BFF, Mar. I always feel like I am home when I see her. I feel younger, in a better mood, and almost giddy. Mar and I met up with our old friend N. I hadn't seen N in about 12 years. Yeah, I am old enough to say I haven't seen them in over a decade! Seeing N was amazing. To see her thriving and happy was so wonderful. I have worried about that girl over the years. I hope we can gather again soon, man were we laughing and carrying on. Just such a good time. I also got to see my friend B with her boys one afternoon. We took the kids bowling and to McDonald's to play. The kids were all so good - we were so grateful and surprised. Ha, ha. It is amazing how much we have in common. It is funny, but she sort of reminds me of my sister - will do anything for you, is way smarter than me, book obsessed, writer, and generally the sweetest person in the world. It was fun. Lots of fun.
S and I together saw J,K, & Baby A. Oh man that kid is cute. Possibly the cutest 1 year old ever. He was just learning to walk and it was so neat to see him cruise around. It is also fun to see our friends just be completely melted by him. Babies do that to you. On another night we got together with S's friends from his high school class. I actaully didn't want to go to that, but as it turned out it was so fun. It was neat to see a few people I remembered from our teenage years.
So how does this ad to all the chaos and stress? Well I take it all personally. I felt terrible that I didn't have more nights to meet Mar, or J&K, I wanted so badly to just spend one night in Boston with M, but there wasn't time, and I wanted to be able to just relax, never really happened. In the mist of all the visiting, outings, gifting and family togetherness we got busy and lost sight of the season. Or maybe I got worn out, sick, and harboring feelings of guilt.
Looking back, we sure had a lot of fun. But right after, I wasn't as excited about it. Grandma was smoking like a chimney, and was so disgruntled; grieving yes, but also just a darn curmudgeon and I let it bother me to the point that my sister actually took me for a walk and told me I needed to let it all go. She was right. Sometimes I wish I could be more like her. I was tying too hard to keep everyone happy. So it took me a few weeks to let it all go, but I am almost there. I can look back and say; it was fun.
All, right now I've recorded it all for posterity. In a new nutshell, Christmas VK was fun and busy. Amazing how that works. :D