So, Chaz came to stay overnight on Christmas Eve, as she always does. But she did not get up before dawn. Neither did we. The kids were all going to show up at about nine, so the following pictures are NOT Christmas morning, but once were, the whole family up in the dark with the lights burning fiercely outside as the excitement and joy burned just as fiercely at the hearth, where “hung” the stockings.
So I put these pictures of the lights first, to get myself in the mood, here.
And these are the snowflakes I made with the wood. I just stuck them on the tree for fun. And just stuck the pictures here the same way.
Christmas morning. Now that we’re all grown up, we get to start with breakfast. We have bacon and sausage and Mama’s fried potatoes and waffles and eggs and cracked wheat cereal. We have orange juice and milk and hot chocolate and egg nog and we start with sweet rolls, as my Mama was wont to do. Except that this year, we bought frozen cinnamon rolls and forgot to get them out of the freezer. So we stuck them into the oven to thaw out, hoping we’d have them not long after the end of the rest of the breakfast.
I realize that not everybody at this table is all grown up (actually, I wonder if any of us are), but the tiny ones had been up since six, and had opened their family gifts already. So no children were harmed in putting breakfast first.
We use my grandmother’s good goblets, and the table is the richer for Laura’s mother’s pine centerpiece. Guy is the chef.
And yes, both Andy and I should have had our eyes closed just then.
Andy in her spanking new princess dress. Scooter is wearing a costume, too, but he’s drowned it in rabbits at the moment.
Andy, who had been feeling poorly for a week, still was, and got quieter and sleepier as the morning went on. Her father, it turned out, was on the same path, and was dragging badly by the time the last gift was opened.
Later, we’d end up with several devices out, talking to Gin and family over Face Time so they could watch us open their presents to us, and we could watch them open ours. This kind of thing has snuck up on us so gradually that you have to take a step back so you can feel the amazing miracle of it. Yeah, they used to talk about video phones – but here we are – just doing it, like it’s normal, talking to somebody several states away, and watching their faces as they open their presents. It’s so – future. But it feels so – the way things should be.
No record of our family gatherings is complete without this photo: Cam wouldn’t know how to live without a lens attached to his hand.
Okay, this picture is significant because Andy was never ever going to take off that princess dress, ever again. But when she opened my present – she DID. Here is sick Andy with her fish.
And Scooter – or Peter the Apostle, with matching fish.
It was at about this point – hours into the morning, when we finally remembered that those rolls were thawing and rising in the oven. Yeah. They were gigantic by then and pretty lurpy. But we baked ’em anyway, and they smelled great.
And there you have it. I don’t have an ending image. I’ll just have to say that it was a sweet day in spite of viruses and overblown cinnamon rolls. It’s so odd – Christmas is just another day of the week, really – and we get together with this bunch of people every other Sunday like clockwork. But you add the spiritual feast together with the Renaissance/Victorian visual feast, and the mysteries in the boxes, and the delighted anticipation of both giver and given-to, and the day drops out of time. Magic, every single year, if you let it be. And I say, God bless it. And you. And yours.
Much love to you all. And hope that the following year will see some sense return to the world, so that love abounds and children are safe, innocence protected and rejoiced of. That hearts will mend, spirits strengthen, the world become more healthy, arising as if from a strange sleep into the light of a new day.
Kisses! K —