Thursday, January 6, 2011
Thursday December 23, 2010
Nina slept marvelously and consequently so did I! Precious, lovely Sharon came to pick us up promptly at 9:45 am. Nina was happy to sit in Sharon's car because she liked slipping around on the leather seats :) Before taking off, Nina gave Sharon a puppy pillow pet as a present. Sharon loved it, especially because she is a dog person :) I really appreciated the coy smile on Nina's face as she watched Sharon smile with excitement. She might not verbalize it, but she is happy and proud that her gifts bring joy to people! That is what gift giving is all about!!
At Atlantic Aviation, we met Paul Redman. He was our pilot for this trip and had graciously volunteered his amazing jet to fly us into Modesto. Nina was very impressed with Paul's jet. It was gorgeous and I could not believe that it took us less than an hour to get to Modesto! The generosity of these pilots leaves me speechless and that is a hard thing to accomplish with an overly-verbose mama like me ;)
In Modesto, my brother Bruno picked us up. It felt great to hug him. When this entire nightmare began, coming home for Christmas seemed impossible. Now, feeling his loving arms around me, it felt like the greatest dream ever! We drove to his place and had lunch. Nina was delighted to see their huge Christmas tree and play with their bunny Charlie. Bruno was particularly touched by how excited Nina is about the baby. The first thing she did when she saw him was ask when the baby was going to be ready to come out of Auntie Michelle's belly. My brother cackled! I love his laughter! Auntie Michelle was at work but sent Nina a text message with a picture of her and the belly bump. Nina laughed with pleasure but was a bit disturbed when I told her the baby was the size of a banana, "You mean the baby is going to look like a banana?" she said in her sweet husky voice. Bruno practically tinkled!
I especially loved seeing how domesticated my brother has become. He takes such pride and pleasure in showing me how he and Michelle are painting the house, how they had decorated for Christmas, and how they are planning to set up their furniture. My brother loves, no he adores, his wife and the family they are building. The magnitude of his love for their little family and beautiful home is brilliantly apparent with each gesture and word he utters. Now….his love for me is much more questionable :) Shortly after arriving, Bruno looked at me and commented on my new dark hair, "So…you going through your goth phase?" I burst into laughter before slugging him! What a punk!! One second he's gushing about his wife and the next he's telling me I look like the 16 year old goth high schooler baby sitting Nina…..NICE!!!
By the time we arrived in Turlock, it was time to get ready for the annual Fredeen Christmas Breakfast. Since I have known the Fredeens (15 years!! Holy moly that is a freaking long time!!!) they have always had a separate family gathering a day or two before Christmas so that they can all exchange gifts and spend time together. In years past, this gathering was always first thing in the morning for breakfast. In the last number of years with us living in Santa Barbara and Dan and Brandi living in Petaluma, breakfast for dinner has become the new tradition and it is great!
There really aren't words to describe how fantastic it felt to be in Turlock, to have this Christmas breakfast all together. As I have said, this seemed impossible but it was now reality. God was good to us. We had another miracle....being home for the holidays!!!
The kids had an incredible time together! Nina's energy flourishes when she is with her cousins! Her eyes twinkle and her spirit shines differently, with a deeper sense of contentment! I reminded myself to focus on the happiness and joy, not on the silly annoying things (e.g., running to the store for the umpteenth time) or the deep sad things (e.g., maybe this is our last Christmas breakfast all together!). The most important thing to focus on was what was happening right at that moment. I am constantly working on Teddy to focus on the positive things in his life, the blessings, instead of being defined by the negative things. Each time I felt myself start to sway in the wrong direction, I reminded myself of what I'm trying to teach Teddy. I focused on my blessings and they were right in front of me!