A family Christmas to remember

 

January 10, 2019



This year, for me, Christmas was an extremely rare treat, I was able to spend it with both of my children. Usually when I visit Ephrata they are working opposing schedules so I can only visit with them solo and if I do happen to get them at the same time, it’s rarely for more than an hour.

It was about three or four days before Christmas when one morning I receive a text from Kaitlyn, my daughter, telling me that she and Daniel, my son, both had Christmas day off and that they wanted to spend it with me. They didn’t care whether they came to Odessa for the holiday or I went to Ephrata, they just wanted to spend the day with me. I quickly made the decision to go to Ephrata so that I wouldn’t disrupt any of the holiday plans at home, and Kaitlyn made the decision to pick me up after her shift closing Starbucks on Christmas eve.

With all that set, it was time to start wrapping gifts. Every year, I don’t know why, but every single stinking year, I wait until the last minute to wrap gifts, all the while telling myself two lies, “I really don’t have that many gifts to wrap,” and the even bigger lie, “it really won’t take me very long to wrap them.” Then shortly after the decision is made to start the process, the windfall of gifts magically appears around me and I am wrapping all through Christmas eve day and usually through the entire night until Christmas morning, cussing myself and my amazing stupidity the entire time. This year, I finally stopped wrapping gifts late Christmas eve evening and waited for Kaitlyn to show up.


It was about 9 p.m. when we finally got the car filled with what seemed like load after load of bags, gifts and bags of gifts. Not to mention a laundry basket of gifts, a box of gifts and two additional reusable grocery sacks of who knows what, plus a ham, potatoes and other grocery items, said our goodbyes, piled our bodies into the front seats and were on our way.

When I was growing up, my dad and mom always let us open one gift on Christmas eve, so when my kids were growing up I kept that tradition going and it was always a big deal to Daniel. Even though it was already about 10:30 p.m. I really wanted to see him. So laughing, I told Kaitlyn, “You should call your brother and tell him that unless he comes over you don’t get to open your Christmas eve gift.” He came by soon after, opened a couple gifts and visited for a little bit. Before leaving he informed me (with a smile) he would be sleeping in the next day. Then he gave me a huge hug and headed back home. Kaitlyn and I visited for a few more hours and sometime about 3 a.m. I fell asleep on the couch.

Christmas day was a laid back, whatever happens, happens, fly by the seat of your pants kind of day. Which is a really good thing because I managed to sleep until sometime around 10:30 that morning. Jumping up I found a cup of coffee and started looking for a pan to put the turkey in and foil to cover it with in order to get it into the oven. Finding neither pan nor foil Kaitlyn and I decided to go to the next best place we could think to go to find what we needed, Grandma’s house.

After a quick drive and phone call to my mom who was in Seattle for the holiday, a disposable roaster pan was acquired, along with dinner rolls and a pumpkin pie. Unfortunately we were still in need of foil, so another phone call was placed and foil was found by way of Kaitlyn’s paternal grandma. We then headed back to her house, buttered the turkey, covered it and put it in the oven.

Daniel and his girlfriend Alanah came by around noon and I started passing out presents to be opened at 1 p.m. After the gifts were opened the four of us Kaitlyn, Daniel, Alanah and I took the dogs out so they could run off their extra energy.

After the turkey had been in a few hours, in the true fashion that is my family, everyone decided they wanted ham to go with dinner along with the turkey. So on a mission to find another pan we settled for a cake pan. After redesigning the edges (I bent them upwards to make it more narrow) and rotating the turkey pan I was able to fit the ham in the oven beside it. Thankfully, it was precooked and only needed to be heated up.

We finally sat down to our thrown together dinner of ham, turkey, mashed potatoes with sour cream and cheddar cheese, broccoli sautéed with garlic and mushrooms and dinner rolls (sorry mom, we forgot about the pumpkin pie) and watched the movie Deadpool 2, while enjoying each other’s company.

Not too long after the movie was over Daniel and Alanah went home and Kaitlyn and I went to visit another family member for a couple hours before finally falling asleep sometime around midnight.

I have great kids. We have an easy rapport, and I have always been close to both of them. They have always been close to one another, too, but they aren’t into each other’s business. They know that no matter what, or who they are with, they always have and can depend on each other.

When the three of us are together, there is rarely a serious moment. It’s usually all smiles, laughter, joking and lots of hugs. We are a huggy kind of family.

I’ve always known how lucky I am that I have the kids I have. They are kind and compassionate, they know how to love and the value of family. They are strong minded, strong willed, stand for what they believe in and they are healthy. So this year, as I was sitting back taking everything in and just being in their presence, that’s when I received the best Christmas gift I could ever receive. I realized once again just how incredibly lucky I am that I have them in my life. It was a strong feeling, one that made my eyes well up with tears because I knew I’d been a good enough mom, that no matter what life threw at them, they would be OK. The way I felt at that moment will always be one of the most incredible moments of my life.

It was a whirlwind couple of days, but they were rewarding days, days that I will always treasure.

 

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