My little dude Jack loves to ask thought provoking questions just after he’s tucked into bed at night. Just before Christmas he asked, “Mommy, what was your best Christmas?” Many wonderful memories flashed through my mind in an instant. Was it the year I got the giant stuffed white Scottie dog that I named “Scottie”? I was sure that dog-shaped wrapped package in the back of the tree was for me. Maybe it was the year my sister Leslie asked Mom to bake a birthday cake for baby Jesus and Mom did. Perhaps it was Jack’s first Christmas with us? The overwhelming feeling was that each year is magical because of the anticipation, the excitement, the glow of the lighted tree, trying to figure out what each wrapped present was without peeking, touching or shaking (I was never a peeker, toucher or shaker), the cookies, the box of cheese from Wisconsin, visiting Santa in that house in The Village and most of all, being with family. I knew my answer: “Every Christmas is the Best Christmas!” I really feel that way because as crazy as it may get, all the wonderful things shine through and I’m just as excited each year.
Christmas 2011 was the Best Christmas and here’s why.
We were all alive. My daddy had a heart attack on Christmas Eve and was in the hospital for a few days. He’s at home now getting needed care and it was great to see him. I think he’ll be alive and kickin’ for awhile. Seventeen family members representing four generations and four different states got together for Kansas City Christmas on Dec. 29th! Jack and I flew out to be there. Two couldn’t make it and a few others, well, they couldn’t make it either.
Jack and I had already celebrated a wonderful Christmas morning on the 25th, with his dad as well, a real Christmas miracle. Because of all this wonderfully stressful fun and good cheer, my top lip exploded in fever blisters. Within a day my lip was puffed up and ugly. If anyone had asked me what happened I would have said I had been in a bar fight and the other gal looked worse. I seriously believe that I could punch someone flat out.
I didn’t let that keep me from enjoying each moment. I donned a fancy sweater and Santa hat for our KC party. Mom cooked a deelish meal of pork roast with cranberry sauce, lots of sides and a billion snacks and sweets for the fun party. My sister-in-law Carol brought her yummy baked cookies.
My little brother Pastor Paul brought his guitar and he asked if we wanted to start with the devil’s music or Christmas carols – we chose to rock out. We sang our hearts out but no one did it better than my little great nephew. He was an angel belting out the Christmas songs “la, la, la, la, la” to every tune as he bounced on the edge of the couch and held up his songbook.
My favorite part about getting together with family is the cousins running crazy together and having a blast; there were eight at this gathering. I’m so glad that my only child has some innate capacity to antagonize, goof around, laugh, carry on and love his cousins as if they were siblings.
At some point when we were fully into our family dynamic we had perfected after almost 50 years, my oldest brother Jim told me to calm down. It was officially Christmas! I don’t even remember what I was doing, probably asking people to get their plates, seeing if they needed more wine or beer…just helping out! Well, I am the middle child, the one who keeps things glued together and peaceful. Ha ha ha!
My brother Pat wore his Santa hat and had a great time as usual. My sister Leslie was her lovely, smart, hilarious self, I don’t feel like the older sister around her and we are great friends. She and my brother-in-law Scott are so fun to be around. The most fun part was our gift exchange, lottery scratchers! Mom had this great idea that we each bring 10 scratchers to swap and see if we win big. I was the big winner with $38, whoo hoo! We had a blast as every so often one of us yelled “I won $2! Wait, someone check this and see…”
Then there was the “fam-demic”. 24-48 hours after the party, nine of us, 10 at press time, got the stomach flu. We know it was not the food since Mom got it, too, and she didn’t eat she was so busy orchestrating. There was a carrier monkey in the mix. Dad called it a disaster, it was awful and just gross. But, it’s part of life, just something that happened, and it proved to us once again how we are so comfortable around family we can throw up in their house. No pictures available.
p.s. Slipper socks for Christmas!