When I was a young girl "back in the day", the tv shows we all used to watch were Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It To Beaver and The Andy Griffith Show. All programs that portrayed the American family as loving and caring, forgiving, teaching with kindness, moral stories abounding, good triumphing over evil, etc., etc. I guess as a kid, I thought every body had a fairly happy homelife just like those families on tv. As an adult I have come to know and hear the stories of real life.
Hard knocks, sadness, illness and death, loves lost and life changes, families broken, all things I have been fortunate enough to experience.
Yes, fortunate. If I had never known those things I could not share empathy and love with my closest of friends, I could not hold someone elses' hand and share the tears of pain or be a good listener. And I could not know or appreciate the good times that would come in my life.
This Christmas of 2011 was celebrated with joy and love and memories that I will cherish until my soul departs this planet for heaven. This Christmas, a long, long time coming, was one full of all those tv holidays that I had always wished to have. There was no drama. There was no fighting. There were no little games between rivals or siblings being played. Everyone was together to celebrate the very reason for this holiday. Jesus would have been very happy at this gathering, indeed.
It has been close to 15 years since I have had a family together at Christmas time. What made me decide to write about this was that I had been watching an old re-run of the "A Walton Christmas" where all the kids try to return home for the holiday. The grandparents get trapped in town because of the snow and their old Model T just isn't capable of trekking through the snow. As it goes, not all the family members make it home for various reasons and the rest of the story is about how they spend their holiday describing what Christmas is about and what it means to them.
This Christmas I had my husband, my son, my daughter, her two precious little boys and my wonderful in-laws . The weather was bright and sunshiny in Portland (where only 3 years ago they were so snowed in no one could travel in or out of the neighborhood!), the table had been set for days patiently waiting the arrival of visitors. And we came, one by one. Kevin, Mike and I arrived around 10:30 a.m. Christmas morning and shortly after that we heard the door bell ring. There before the great grandparents and the grandparents were two very properly dressed young men; both Evan and Eric were sporting shirts and vests and ties. They were so handsome!
The house was warm and smelled wonderful, a turkey in the oven, snack plates of cheese and crackers and a selection of various cookies on the kitchen buffet counter. Fresh coffee brewing in the corner while snippets of conversation between the ages were interrupted with laughter and giggles and even an occasional plinking from the piano in the living room. As many as there were of us, everything went rather smoothly. Everyone gathered in the family room to open presents while Evan announced he could read now and figured out quickly which ones were his! A quick blur of Christmas paper wrappings flying, the kids passing out the presents and lots of ooohs and awes and thank yous amidst the hustle. Just pure joy with everyone together sharing this family day.
Once all the presents had been opened and the little guys were busy with their toys and games, the adults forwarded their attentions to getting the food on the table and ready for serving.
How absolutely wonderful to have all these generations sharing our family love and celebratory repast.
One of the most endearing moments was when Eric decided he didn't just want a few pieces of turkey on his plate, he wanted the WHOLE thing! Dad convinced him that he couldn't fit the whole turkey on his plate and satisfied Eric's desire with a big turkey wing, complete with skin. Eric seemed rather happy with that until the wing was placed on his plate where he quickly stated that he now wanted all that "stuff" off. Ahhh, such big problems we should all have, 'eh?
We cleared the table of plates and silverware to make room for Kevin's famous homemade pumpkin pie paired with vanilla ice cream and fresh hot coffee. Each of us were immersed in conversation with someone and various subjects bounced around the table. At one time Mike was explaining some components of his cell phone or the computer to Dorothy (GeeGeeMom), Gread Granddad was discussing politics with Bret and Sara and Mike were bantering with each other and the boys. Kevin and I were simply enjoying the whole scene.
Shortly after the plates were cleared and the dishes were washed, I found this little guy on the sofa...
I guess that says it all.
Happy New Year!