|Our Christmas Gifts!|
Friday December 24, 2010
I had so longed for Nina to be "well" for Christmas, to be able to come back home to be with family, to give the kids one more set of holidays and memories (if we are taken down that road) with her and as an intact family. God had given me that gift. Now it was up to me to be joyful, just joyful! I woke up with that task on my mind.
Addie had spent the night with Nina and me at my parent's house. Todd had stayed with Silas and Teddy at his folks. The kids had a blast with their sleep overs. The girls slept in until 10:30, which gave me plenty of time to start helping my mom with setting the table for that dinner's Christmas Eve party. That had been our routine for decades.
Christmas Eve dinner was traditionally the main get together for my family. Each year my cousins Luis and Lucy, along with their kids, would come over for dinner. Since my parents have a Portuguese Bakery they always work on Christmas Eve, unless it falls on a Sunday. While they are working, I go back to my childhood home (actually I lived there until I was married :).....22 seems so long ago now!) and help my mom prepare by ironing the table clothes, folding the napkins, setting the table, decorating, and preparing the appetizers. I love doing this! Looking back, it is funny how certain routines become "traditions" without that ever having been the intention. So, while the girls slept I scurried around the house. Everything felt right, but then again, everything felt wrong. Each time my mind started slipping, I tried to refocus on the joy.
After the girls had breakfast, I started a tub for them. They love taking baths together. Adelae has the most incredible patience with Nina and she also has an extraordinary imagination that always comes to life each time they are playing with bubbles :) While the girls took their tubbie, I dried my own hair and tried to make myself presentable. In the midst of drying hair and putting on make-up, that's when I heard it.
I heard the voice of an angel, fluttering out of the bathroom where the girls were. I snuck toward the door, sure to not be discovered. Adelae was singing to Nina. Immediately I felt my arch nemesis make his appearance again. The lump. It instantly crawled up into my throat and dug his claws in. I heard Addie sing "Butterfly Fly Away", each word beautifully enunciated, draped with sugary love. Intermittently, Nina would join in and sing a few words.....
Instantly, I was surrounded with words of encouragement and support. Most helpful was the reminder to follow Nina's lead, to be sassy like her and seize happiness. Sometimes the most obvious solution, the one right in front of you, is the hardest to see. When I read that advice, I felt anchored again. So, I took a deep breath and just enjoyed the privilege of listening to something sacred. I decided it was a heavenly gift instead of a grueling match with my nemesis. People ask me how I do it and I don't know....somehow I'm just able to flip the switch.
|Playing Go Fish with Auntie Michelle|
|Waiting to open gifts. Come on....we smiled...can we open them now?|
|I know there's one here for me!|
|I love it!|
We ate, we drank and we were merry! We were all together! What more could we ask for? Nothing!
|Playing with Cousin Luis and Vovo!|
|Happiness and joy with Vovo and Vava!!|
Around 11pm, the kids went to bed. They were so excited about Santa coming. Teddy whispered in my ear that he knew that Santa didn't exist, that it was all us, but that he would pretend for Nina's sake :) I smiled and kissed his sweet face! I cuddled with the kids, tickling their backs and kissing their noses. They were my gifts! I lay quietly with them and thanked God for the precious treasures they are in my life!
|Teddy and Mama cuddling right before bedtime.|
At 11:40pm my dad waved at me from the kitchen. I kissed the kids once more. It was my turn to go to church with my parents. I grabbed my coat and off we went.