I may have mentioned before that all the children were going to be home for Christmas. All of them. How miraculous is that, how full of joy upswelling in this mother's heart at the very thought?
|The Smucker Six|
First of all, Matt was flying in late on Christmas Day, so we'd technically be together after, rather than on, Christmas Day. But that's ok, really, we can adapt.
Ben was flying out two days later.
Two precious days with all my beloved chicks in one nest.
|We rented this house near Seal Rock.|
Only one day all together??!! My dreams shattered like an English Spode teacup on a concrete floor.
If anyone thinks I am a paragon of patient, understanding motherhood, you should have seen me then, muttering under my breath about brilliant engineering students who can't even read an airline schedule.
"Um, you wrote about this," said my sister on the phone. "About just rolling with your adult kids' decisions and the stuff you can't control. It's in your last book. In fact, it helped me chill out about our family Christmas and things not going according to my script. I thought you had, you know, learned this."
Well! Just because you learn something and write it in a book doesn't mean you don't forget to actually practice it now and then!
Ben eventually had the good sense to act regretful, and I had the good sense to forgive him, because what else can you do when it costs at least $230 to begin to change a ticket, and there was no sense ruining our single precious day with an attitude?
And then God blessed us by cramming so much good stuff into one day, you'd think the sun stood still in the sky for a while like it did for Joshua.
We began with Paul's traditional pancakes for breakfast.
We opened gifts.
|There's one in every family who waits until the last minute to buy gifts, then pulls them|
out of a bag, wraps them quickly in a pillowcase, and hands them out.
But they were awfully nice presents.
|Amy gathers coffee cups, Emily tries on her new sweater, Matt deflects incoming|
laser beams with his new crock pot lid from Steven, Paul listens, and
Jenny wipes a happy tear from her eye.
All right then. So barely ready to face the day, I joined the kids by the pellet stove.
I opened a big box that said "To Dorcas From Fred." Fred is my brother.
It was a doll.
A doll that walked and talked.
I am serious.
When I was little, for years on end I always started my Christmas wish list the same way:
1. Big doll
2. Little doll.
3. Walking doll
4. Talking doll
Bear in mind that we were so poor that we hardly got gifts at all. One year I got a few goodies like oranges and candies from Mom, plus a dot-to-dot book that I had finished before the day was over.
A walking, talking doll was The Ultimate Heavenly Cool Rapturous Astonishing Impossibility.
Utterly impossible, but dreaming was free.
Fred remembered. Somewhere, he saw this doll for sale, and he remembered that little sister's Christmas list.
And bought it. And brought it along last summer when he came to pick up Dad. And slipped it to Jenny for safekeeping.
My nefarious daughter Emily was less reverent about the gift than I was, deliberately setting up this scene. Would you believe the doll actually turned aside from the treacherous obstacle in her path?
Good for her.
And we had a big dinner.
|Family-dinner selfies don't work the best. And for those who will|
worry, the bubbly stuff is non-alcoholic.
Of course we played lots of games.
|That nice blond guy not only played games with his kids but also gave me|
that big bouquet in the background.
I am one of those very bad moms who hates to play card and dice games of every kind. I get either bored or frantic when I'm waiting for my turn. I never feel free to talk because someone is always concentrating. The tangle of rules makes me feel like I have spiders climbing up and down the nerves in my arms and shoulders. I constantly hop up to make hot chocolate for everyone.
But I tried to join a few games anyhow, and to act enthusiastic, and my bravery was rewarded when some of the kids willingly played Boggle with me.
Steven surprised us all with his skill, because he almost never plays Boggle. From this tray he produced "boneless" and lots of gasps from the rest of us.
And, best of all, we even got our family pictures taken. We crossed rushing streams, climbed jagged rocks, raced the incoming tide, and stood on wet sand that slowly swallowed our feet.
Amy would set up the tripod, situate the camera, push the self-timer, and scamper over to join the tribe.
|Jenny, Ben, Paul, Dorcas, Steven, Amy, Matt, Emily|
|Jenny and Matt|
And you can read Emily's version of events here.
It was a relaxed and happy holiday.
Then we came home, where Matt spent hours fixing everyone's computers, Amy cooked good food, the girls went to their first slumber party that had a policeman knocking on the door*, and the Ducks won the Rose Bowl.
*Just a slight mixup, thankfully, although you really should ask Amy for the full story.
A good 2015 to everyone.
Quote of the Day:
"She said she really likes your books and your blog. It's like, so weird, when someone who's like, my age, reads my mom's stuff!"