Christmas to me is synonymous with family time. For our immediate family, it has always been a time when Greg and I were blessed to have a week or so off with each other, and with the kids as they came along. In our twenty years of marriage, we have always worked funky schedules that don’t always allow for consistent family meals together, chilling out time in the evenings etc. So this is a much welcome respite from our schedules when we can spend lots of time together. Believe it, or not, we still love to spend time together.
I am the oldest of seven cousins.Growing up, we spent most every Sunday afternoon at Grandma’s house playing together and hanging out. As we each went away to college, and some of us got married, now most of us are married and many of us have children, Christmas is the only time of year we can count on seeing each other. It is so much fun to get together and visit, reminisce and see our children begin to play together. Unfortunately, distance keeps our children from forming the same bonds we had – I baby sat for most of the younger ones. But, they are still getting to know each other and be aware of extended family outside our little circles.
Last night, Greg and his siblings had the opportunity to be together for the first time in ten years. It was nice to hear them talk, banter, good-naturedly disagree around the dinner table together. It was peaceful and fulfilling to see the family together as a unit. It has been so long, that Hannah didn’t even know what it was like. She was six months old the last time this happened. I’m only an “in-law” but I am so happy to see the connections being made again and keeping in touch will be easier – even cross-country with cell-phones and internet (once again, thanks Facebook). I pray it won’t be 10 years more before we can all physically be together again, but it is nice to know that there is not a rift and that the family can be whole again.
Today we started a new era in our family. For the first time, all four of us are participating in musical activities somewhat together. Greg and Sarah played in Jazz Band today at the Mall and then for a Christmas party. Tonight, I will accompany the Alexander Tone Definites Middle School group in which Hannah is a first year member. Hannah and I attended Greg and Sarah’s performance and they, in turn, will attend our’s this evening. I never wanted to force my children to music – but I have to say my heart leaps with joy that they enjoy it as much as their parents do.
As we embark on this last week of preparation and anticipation, cherish your families. Do things together – even if it is only cleaning up the house, or shopping for those last minute groceries. Don’t forget to hug one another, and share the love that makes a family warm and complete.