Cue Music with a multitude of children and I am taking a much needed, short break. My presents are all wrapped, be-ribboned and nestled under the tree. The fireplace is crackling with a great warming fire. My home and tree look like Christmas projectile vomited tastefully all over the place and I have a few moments to reflect and jot down a few thoughts.
I had a rough time getting into the Christmas spirit this holiday season, but with the fantastic snow storm that came through the city two days ago, I can say that I am finally ready to celebrate. I have been working frantically at my job to keep up with the multitude of corporate parties, lunches, banquets and breakfasts as well as feed the hotel guests each morning. I have tomorrow off of work, thankfully, and will be celebrating my Christmas with my Dad and Mom, brother and his family, my little sister and parent's neighbors. By noon, their big house will be full of friends and family and I have to say I am excited to see everyone! I baked twelve dozen Cranberry and White Chocolate Chunk cookies, made batches of Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate and Walnut fudge, and am now cooking vats of Chili and Nacho Cheese and Potato Soup to help feed the hungry hordes of well wishers tomorrow. Once those have finished simmering, I can finally catch some rest. I have been moving nonstop since three this morning and my coffee is no longer working for me. I did pull a few double shots of espresso from the beans my sister brought to me from Antigua, Guatemala and they were fantastic, but caffeine can only take me so far.
So this is Christmas...
My favorite holiday, since I was a child, has always been Christmas. The bright lights, festive and sentimental music, mouth watering smells, gleaming white snow and anticipatory excitement that electrifies the air is intoxicating! When I was younger, we always traveled North to my Grandparents farm and celebrated with my Mom's side of the family. All of her prolific siblings and a huge host of cousins made for a crazy and exciting time. We had enough guys (and a few daring girls) to field three football teams to play against each other in the snow on the back forty. There were horses to ride, four wheelers to race across the land, woods to tromp through and ice skating on the frozen pond. Grandma's kitchen was always full of relatives and neighbors, scrumptious food, uncontained laughter, loud talking, copious pots of steaming hot chocolate and strong dark coffee. Despite the many grandchildren and great grandchildren she had, (I lost count after forty five or so) she always made each of us feel so very special, important, needed and loved. I could spend pages here recounting happy memories spent on the farm during holidays and summers, but I will let those keep with me for now. Grandma and Grandpa have now since passed, but those Christmas' still live on as my Uncle Terry now has the farm and I am sure this week it will be littered with all of his kids and theirs. Family is forever and for that I am thankful.
On Christmas Day, Dad and Mom and my little sister will get together again to celebrate our own little "real" Christmas. There will be more presents, Mom's fantastic food and then, as a long standing tradition since I left for the Navy, I will take my little sister to the movies downtown in the city. It is something we have been doing for years and I always look forward to our special time. With her business and international traveling, we so rarely get to see each other, much less catch up on our lives. I wonder what movie she will pick out this year? I will just have to be surprised I guess! We may not always understand each other. We have our separate lives and different choices, but I can guarantee you, we love each other fiercely.
None of this is coming out the way I hoped to describe it all, and I keep having to hit replay on my music, but I guess what I want to say is Merry Christmas to you all, wherever you may be and whomever you may or may not spend the holiday with. I am thankful and grateful for each and everyone of you that have taken a moment to read the words and pieces of life I share here. A few of you, I have got to know as friends over the last few years and you have enriched my life greatly. Whether I know you by name, have visited you in your respective cities, chatted briefly, exchanged thoughts through comments, or you remain a quiet and faceless passerby, please know that your interest, curiosity, questions and ideas help shape and fashion my own life in your own unique and appreciated ways. You all are a part of the ever widening circle that is my life and I hope that you know that you matter to me. May this season bring you the knowledge that hope is ever and always present, defeat and despair are but fleeting and that we all have so very much to be thankful for, no matter what our respective lives may look like.
Thank you all very much and a Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you.