Short recap of Christmas: lots of rest, I was sick, awesome time with family, super great (and surprising gifts).
Long recap? Read on...
It is probably no surprise that I am not taking giant chunks of vacation at this point in my life. Yes, it could be three years before I need to take maternity leave to head to Ethiopia. It could also be shorter. And I can keep my vacay for a full two years. So, we're not planning big trips and we didn't take a ton of time off for the holiday. The time we took was great, though. So great, so relaxing that I don't even have photos. Sad but true. I looked through my phone today and I found one picture of some Ssekos I got for Christmas and two pictures of my dogs. Clearly, photo evidence of Christ's birth was not high on my priority list.
Regardless, relaxation was high on the list and that is exactly what Christmas looked like for me. I picked up a dazzling cold last Tuesday and was home from work Wednesday and half of Thursday. I was the "hey I can't breathe so I can't sleep but I don't have energy to do anything else" sort of sick. Which explains how I watched 21 episodes of "How I Met Your Mother." In. One. Day. Good thing I find it entertaining. And God bless Netflix. I was so thankful to just let it run while I rested.
By Thursday night we took off for my parents' house and I continued to rest, sleep, and do a whole lot of nothing for the next five days. Even though I didn't feel better, there was just something about being with my family that made it better. Even though I didn't feel better. I'll spare you each detail of each day. I really did nothing until Christmas Eve services.
Christmas Eve in my family always means someone in my immediate family is going to musically perform at service. This time, it was both my mom and my brother Pete. We got a double dose-- "Oh Holy Night" and "Mary Did You Know." Now, here's the thing. I love "O Holy Night." And I am a little worn on "Mary Did You Know." But there's something about my cowboy brother with nothing but his voice and his guitar that brought new life to an old standby. It was MOVING. SO. Moving. And of course, the final moments where we all held our candles high and sang "Silent Night" --It's just not Christmas Eve without it. Celebrating the light of the world with our own lights is just amazing. It always will be.
We opened our gifts on Christmas Eve because there are no children in our home. And because my dad is a pastor so we knew he'd be up early for Sunday services. Aside from lots of other cool stuff (I am spoiled), my parents got me a KitchenAid mixer. I was giddy. And when I was finished opening my gifts, I looked down to find one more bag in my pile.
Now you must know E and I were buying ourselves a bed for Christmas. It was already decided. So when he looked at me, told me he'd gotten a little extra cash at work that he held back, and surprised me with a Kindle, it was too much. Too much! I just burst into tears. I was so surprised, overwhelmed, overjoyed, and proud of E. I just lost it. The Kindle is great. The thought was greater.
Christmas day service was lovely as always. I was trying not to get close to anyone so as not to infect them with more than Christmas spirit. Imagine my shock when my dad called Eric and me forward to serve communion. Yeah, I held the cup for the packed house. I just kept thinking "the Lord will provide, no one will get sick." I hope.
Communion always seems to provide interesting sights and this time was no exception. There was a little boy about six years old who came up, took the bread from my dad and looked right at me. He asked "what's in there?" I bent down and told him it was grape juice. He took his tiny index finger, dipped it deep in the chalice, and licked it. Then he ate the bread separately. It was all I could do not to lose it. His family was not as lucky. They were about rolling in the back row.
By Monday, we were full of good things--food. love. I made sugar cookies with my new mixer and immediately realized what a value the stand mixer holds. We decided to "tailgate" for the Mizzou game at home. Dad put up our tailgate tent outside and put the grill underneath. Since it was about 42 degrees, raining, and windy, we let Dad stand there by himself. He grilled while we watched, dry and warm. The game? A win. Not so exciting but we'll take it. The food? Delicious. Seriously. The company? Couldn't be better.
We came back early Tuesday and brought Grandma with us. A word about Grandma. She got a Kindle Fire for Christmas and is officially on Facebook. At 85. If I have half her gumption in my lifetime, I will be a proud woman. And yes, I have watched "The Holiday" twice in three days or I probably wouldn't have used the word gumption.
We're back to the grind but it's nice to know tomorrow's the last day before another long weekend. I really didn't do this week justice but I guess that's the joy. The feelings will never translate to paper. They're internal. And forever wonderful.