Once Upon a Christmas
Once upon a Christmas, it was 1999 actually, everything was exactly what Christmas should be. In my head, Christmas is family and food and gifts and more love in one house than you can imagine. In 1999, I had just such a Christmas. A perfect Christmas day.
In January of '99 we bought this smaller house out in the country a couple of miles from town. It was half the size of the home where we raised our kids. We were settling into our new home with thoughts of retiring and enjoying life in the country on our 3 acres.
In September of '99 one of our sons got married in Jamaica. They had a reception in October and we combined that week-end with a baby shower for our daughter who was due in November with her first child.
In November we welcomed our granddaughter and because they live in Tennessee, we were very excited that our daughter and her brand spankin' new daughter would be coming home for several days at Thanksgiving. What a treat!
In December the girls made the trip again, this time with Daddy and we would all be together for Christmas at our new home. All three of our sons would be there. Two of them would be bringing their wives, one had an eleven year old daughter who would also be coming and the youngest son would be bringing his girlfriend. Momma would be staying the week-end with us, as well.
I remember the day as if it were a few weeks ago. (That is amazing because I remember very little these days.) But that Christmas day was what I see as perfection.
I made breakfast for everyone who woke up in our house that morning and we opened our gifts from each other. That would be daughter, baby, baby-daddy, Momma, my roomy and me. After we cleaned up the kitchen from breakfast I started to prepare things for dinner. We were expecting everyone sometime in the afternoon and assumed they would be staying well into the evening. Based on that, we planned a mid-afternoon meal that could be warmed or eaten cold as the evening wore on and hunger set in. These boys can eat! I had lots of baby time between cooking chores and my daughter was a huge help with the set up downstairs. In fact, she and my roomy did all the set up. I rocked, fed and cooked. Momma kept me company in the kitchen and took her turns holding and rocking. I was loving every minute.
The boys arrived one family at a time. The newlyweds being the last to arrive. We ate and
exchanged more gifts and we laughed and played pass the baby and laughed more. There was nothing about this day that I would have changed. It was all of my kids with their significant others and my mom and my man~ all in my house basically all day. The very best Christmas day I had ever had or have had since.
I cannot explain with simple words what having all of the kids here means to me. It isn't just that I want to see them all. Now that they all have kids, it's even more precious to me to have them all here. It is also very rare. The cousins very seldom all get together because everyone is so busy and has so many obligations that they just don't all come for anything any more. Someone is always missing now. Two of our kids live in Tennessee and they sometimes just can't get away long enough to make the trip. One son is so busy with his farm, job, horses, 3 daughters and life in general that he seldom makes any of the family gatherings. The other son is always here, I don't recall any gathering he has missed. One granddaughter is married and she seldom comes, but did come for Thanksgiving this year and it was wonderful to have her and her roomy with us again. I really miss the simpler days, when family mattered to all of us more than almost anything else.
I am so grateful that I have that Christmas to remember. I will not get another one like that~ more than likely. Times have changed and priorities have changed and I just have to accept that that was probably the last perfect Christmas day I will have.
Oh, let me tell you what the next day brought. I turned 50 on December 26, 1999 and my roomy and my daughter gave me an almost surprise birthday party! I was surprised, not about the party because they told me the day before, but by the number of friends and family who actually came out the day after Christmas for a birthday party. It was truly humbling for me. It was a great party and I totally loved it. The same kids, minus one son and family, returned for the party also. The one son who couldn't come was working.
Two fabulous days in a row. I will always remember Christmas of 1999 because that is what Christmas should be; not only for me, but for all 9 of our grandchildren to be able to bond and just get to know each other for a short time, at least. It should be a time for everyone to give their Grandmother a little respect and a small amount of their time. It should be a time to share food, love and laughter. It should be family time. But it isn't anymore.
And once upon a Christmas I had it all. I am so thankful.