I am going to take a break from my author series for my next two posts. Christmas is in a few days and I don’t have a post scheduled for that day so today I will do my Christmas post.
At my age I have quite a few memories from Christmas’s past. Today I want to remember one in the not so distant past. It is from last Christmas. Between the kids and my husband and I moving around a lot in recent years, we had not had all the kids under one roof for a while. We always were short of at least one. We had gotten used to it, but it still a little sad not being able to gather as a family.
Now keep in mind, I have a son who lives in Vermont with his wife and two daughters.
My other son lives in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, with his wife.
And my oldest daughter lives in the state of Washington with her husband and two daughters.
For a few years my husband and I lived in Washington before moving back to Pennsylvania. So you can see being spread across the country as we are it can be difficult to get everyone together.
Since moving back to Pennsylvania we have established a pattern in which my son in Vermont comes to PA one year and the next year my husband and I travel to Vermont a few days after Christmas to do a second holiday with Scott and his family. With Nicholas living so close to us we manage to see him pretty much every Christmas. Katie in Washington is the one that is most difficult to see. This one really hurts because for seventeen years she was my only daughter in a house full of men so we had a special bond. Not being able to see her at Christmas was hard.
So we come to 2016, our year to go to Vermont. We Skype with Katie and her family in Washington. The conversation is fun and sad at the same time. One thing to come out of it: Katie and her family are going to come to Pennsylvania for Christmas 2017. The planning begins. The first thing we do is plan to host Christmas for both my husband’s and my family at our house. I forgot to mention: both my husband and myself are the oldest of eight, so when the families manage to get together it is a big deal.
So back to the planning, both my son and his family as well as my daughter and her family will be staying in my four bedroom house. Counting the three of us living there, the four coming from Vermont and the four from Washington adds up to eleven people under one roof for a week.
We pick up Katie and her family at the airport and Scott and his family drive down from Vermont a few days before Christmas. We get them settled just in time to have a small get together with my family on Christmas Eve. Nicholas is not able to make this one.
It is a nice quiet get together as my family is not as large as my husband’s. Even though we have the same amount of siblings, the sibling’s families are not as numerous.
So quiet: we share a meal, exchange gifts and go our separate ways. Al and I go to 10:00 p.m. mass and afterwards get some rest before the madness Christmas day will bring. While we are at mass my daughter and daughter -in-law start the cooking for tomorrow.
Christmas morning; Nicholas and his wife arrive and we open our gifts. Then it’s on to cleaning and more cooking.
Afternoon arrives and my husband’s family starts to arrive. By the time they all arrive there are forty two people in my house and madness ensues, from gift exchange to eating to visiting. Definitely not the quiet party from Christmas Eve, but just as much fun.
Several hours later and a small meltdown from my introvert daughter (this is the youngest that still lives with us), the house is once again quiet as we sit and review the day’s activities.
In a couple of days Scott and his family leave and after another week Katie and her family leave. It is back to just the three of us.
The last month was a whirlwind of family and activity. Now we take a little time to catch our breath and then tackle the upcoming year, which will be full of it’s own adventures. There were days when I couldn’t wait for everyone to leave, days when I just wanted to hide, but I wouldn’t trade the time spent with my kids for anything in the world. The best gift I received was having all my kids in one place, for all the madness of the holiday, but also for all those times when we got to be with each other in the quiet and peace of the season.
The next time we do this, the photo will be different, as our lives grow and change. People will be added others will grow and move on, but for one quiet moment in the flow of life we were all together, and until the next time, this was the best Christmas gift ever.
Christmas 2018 will be a little quieter with only one of my children visiting. We will go to my sisters for a small get together on Saturday and then will host a smaller version of my husband’s family Christmas day. On the 27th we will drive to Vermont to spend New Years with Scott and his family.
May you all have a Blessed Christmas and may all your dreams come true.