December 22, 2010Every year, the Christmas spirit hits me at some point. I may have been preparing for weeks, going through the motions because I know I have to or I will get behind, but not really enjoying it like I want to. Last year, it hit me when a sweet friend sent Santa to our house because she knew we wouldn’t be able to get out to see him that year. He arrived in a black pickup truck and came in amidst shouts of joy from my kids. He snuggled my bald little girl and tried to coax Jake to sit on his lap to no avail. And when I hugged him goodbye, I whispered in his ear, “Thank you so much… I didn’t think we would get to do this this year.” And, he whispered back, “I know… that’s why I came.” POW! The Christmas spirit hit me like a ton of bricks!
This year, it has come in more gently. I’ve been trying to enjoy the kids being home and their anticipation of Christmas, but mostly it has seemed like too long of a week without school before Christmas this year. But, this morning, sometime between 10 am and 1 pm, Christmas arrived for me. We invited two families over to decorate Gingerbread houses. These are not just any friends… they are dear friends. These are the girls that showed up, silently, at the hospital to hold my hands as we waited to find out if Tanner would make it through the night when she had to be life-flighted to Vanderbilt for a drug reaction. They are the girls that bring food without being asked, bring crafts when they know we have been housebound too long and take Jake with them when I need to focus my attention on Tanner. They are those easy kind of friends that are more like having family around your house.
So, we gathered this morning, kids happily smearing glue-like icing on gingerbread houses and eating easily as much candy as they smothered on. The girls did a nutcracker show, the boys played batman and air hockey and the Moms got some much needed girl time in a long week with no school.When they all left and I sent the kids to their rooms for some quiet time, I realized that I was finally in the Christmas spirit. I put some music on the ipod and made fudge and counted my blessings… my many, many blessings.
When John got home, we went to see some Christmas lights and then, after everyone went to bed, I made Christmas morning breakfast casseroles to freeze in anticipation of Christmas day.
Christmas is just a magical time when, despite all the hubbub, there are genuine moments of such kindness to be found. Like the other night when my friend, Ron, called to say they had a special package for Tanner on Christmas day. I met Celia in the Kroger parking lot (okay, it was the liquor store parking lot, but that didn’t sound so good!) and we talked for 45 minutes in the freezing cold, catching up. Celia and Ron had pulled some favors and got a signed copy of Taylor Swift’s new CD for Tanner. It says, “I (heart) Tanner.” Swoon. In addition, the daughter of the person who got the CD for Celia made Tanner a necklace out of a Taylor Swift guitar pick.
In the bustle of season our friends had remembered us. That is the Christmas spirit.
I know I haven’t written in a while, so here are some of the highlights of the past two weeks:
– Jake had his Christmas program at school where he wore one blue transformer glove the entire time he was on stage singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
– Tanner had pajama day, went can caroling for the Second Harvest Food Bank and enjoyed her last day of school before Christmas break.
– We had our picture taken with Santa. Started out as a kids only picture, but since Jake wouldn’t get anywhere near Santa without me, we all jumped in. As you can see, he is clinging to my leg for dear life.
– Beth, Tanner and I went to see the Nutcracker. It was beautiful and reminded me so much of when my Mom used to take me to see it in downtown Philadelphia as a little girl.
– Beth knew me well enough to offer to go with me to return Domino to the rescue organization he came from. She was a great distraction. We drove to Jackson, TN, and handed him over to, hopefully, find a loving home without little kids. I still miss him terribly, but we’re ready to start looking for our new, family friendly dog after Christmas.