Monday, December 15, 2008

What It's All About

We were amongst those who lost power Thursday night due to the ice storm. I stayed home with Tom & Gabe all day Friday, and it was rather cold by dinner time. We contemplated waiting it out at home but learned it would likely be days before our electricity was restored, so we called my sister in Connecticut and loaded up the van.

It was good to see her and the kids, and we were of course so thankful to her and her family for helping us out. Sadly, we don't get to see each other often, and when we do it's always crazy (good-crazy but crazy nonetheless). I remember when we were growing up and made each other promise we would always be together on Christmas Eve, no matter what, and no matter how old we grew, we would always continue with all of our old traditions, one of which involved her reading The Polar Express to me before we went to bed. Now, of course, we live in different states, have to work around each other's individual schedules, both have families of our own, as do my other sister and brother, and we all equally want to spend our time together and, I think, all know that, but getting us all in the same place even once per year is no guarantee. That's what you'll get, though, with a family of four kids who all loved growing up as part of a big family; we all quickly found ourselves starting big families of our own. (Mine is the smallest.) I love that we all have kids, and that when we are able to sync our schedules, however short the time may be, our kids are all close enough in age that they enjoy playing with one another. Can you imagine what family get-togethers will be like in fifteen years or so?

Of course, Christmas is the best time to try and reconnect. I won't get to see my brother this time around (it seems a different one of us has to miss the Christmas party every year; I couldn't go last year and my sister, the year before), and I'll miss him, but I'll be thinking of him and his family of eight in their old Vermont country farm house, keeping warm from the wood stove and enjoying the company of all those little feet, not withstanding the teeny tiny ones belonging to Baby Isaac! (I do so keep such a romantic picture in my mind of how they live!)

My father is one of seven children, and the Christmas party is really for them, or at least that was how it started. Now my sisters, my brother, and I have fourteen kids plus one on the way (not mine!) and a couple of cousins have started families too, plus my youngest aunt has little ones that are younger than Tommy, so the kids are certainly the life of the party. It is such a blessing to see so many happy, healthy, beautiful children sharing the excitement of the season and one another's company. How, again, we are blessed!

As we were driving back to New York yesterday I was thinking about all the many ways my life has been blessed, by those around me, a special and memorable childhood, and all the natural wonders I've been given the chance to see. The treetops yesterday were all glass for miles around. Even the individual blades of grass were encased in ice, and everything was sparkling white under a beautiful blue sky. When the sun shone through the ice it was simply amazing, and the sunset that followed was indescribable.

Now of course it's back to the grindstone. We were originally told we wouldn't get power restored until Wednesday night around 8 PM, but it came back on last night, and I'm home today, trying to play catch up after our unscheduled weekend away. This year I'm feeling the typical holiday crunch, struggling to get everything done in time for the big day, and I keep having to remind myself that all that really doesn't matter. In my heart it's all for the right reasons, but I still don't want to get pulled into that mind-set to which so many others seem to be chained. I still want Christmas to be about Christ. And I want to celebrate Jesus' birth. With my Family.

So on that note, I'm appreciating a moment now. I've done some shopping and cleaning today, and I'm about to switch on some holiday music and putz through the afternoon, wrapping, dreaming, and ENJOYING every moment. And maybe tonight we'll put the tree up, but if we don't, I won't be upset, because that just isn't what matters!

Happy Advent... Here's to... remembering the reason for the season!

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