I hope that you and your loved ones had full bellies, laughed until you couldn't breathe, got a little choked up in a good way, enjoyed memories of holidays past and made more happy memories for holidays future.
Cave has been pulling massive hours at work this month to cover gaps in the schedule and an unexpected strike that required his department be manned 24/7, even the parts that normally shut down at night. He’s tried very hard to make time for us but we all feel his absence. Between that, Hag passing and all of the things breaking over the past two months my holiday spirit is running about a week behind. I imagine we’ll have a Happy January celebration when Cave finally gets time off. His vacation was cancelled twice this year and so far this month he’s been called in on all of his days off or has had to cancel them, save for one next week. That day off is on his birthday so I hope he gets to keep that one. He has a check coming in January that will have more than a hundred hours of OT on it. I hope the IRS allows us to keep some of it. Barring that I hope that it doesn’t bump him up enough tax brackets that his check is smaller than normal. It really is a slap in the face when that happens even if we get it most of it back at tax time.
We did get the tree up on Christmas Eve and that really helped lift the spirits. We baked our favorite Christmas cookies, Pecan Puffs, and then had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of Chinese take out. We let the kids open one present and then Cave collapsed for some much needed shut-eye while we spent the rest of the night tracking Santa through NORAD (we even managed to get a call through and speak to one of Santa’s Helpers and OH BOY was that exciting!) and playing Just Dance Disney. Watching the three kids line up and flail to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious was most amusing.
Yesterday we hung out and had a low key, relaxing day. I fixed a country ham that we purchased on sale early this fall, served with biscuits, corn and mashed potatoes. I wasn’t up for fixing a huge meal with all the trimmings but it was good and the family ate until they were full. We all agreed that the kitchen looks bare without the ham so we’re going to keep our eye out for another sale. We put off opening our presents until after Daddy was home and we’d eaten so I know it was good when all of the kids asked for seconds.
Family isn’t just blood, thankfully, and we had a very close friend as a guest of sorts the past few days. A single mother, she is alone this holiday season. I wish she could be with us in person but we have done our best to include her in all of our festivities and she loved hanging with us virtually. We gave Silly E a kindle, something that he’s been hoping for. Silly E’s exuberance at his kindle tickled her to no end. Tomorrow she’ll be with us while we assemble our gingerbread house. I’m behind this year but we’re getting there.
I was worried that the children would notice the gifts were sparse this year. The biggest gift was the kindle, purchased before we started hemorrhaging money. I shouldn’t have worried, our kids appreciated every gift they were given and the only complaint was that Santa hadn’t brought enough for Mom and Dad’s stockings. Silly E helped me fill the stockings and after he realized that Cave and I had not bought Santa Gifts for ourselves he snuck bags of cookies in when I wasn’t looking. Cave ran to the gas station and bought two candy bars for our stockings before he went to work this morning so we had two gifts from Santa this year.
The highlights of the day, for me, was staying up way too late playing Clue with the kids and the card that my in-laws gave me. It is beautiful, with a wintry Kinkade-esque cottage on the front and lovely sentimental prose about daughters inside, but I teared up when I saw how they’d signed it. Mom and Dad. It had always been R&V, or mil and fil until this year. The card has already been carefully put away and it will have a place of honor in my memory book.
We are well and truly blessed by the people in our lives and the love and light that they bring us. I hope that you are too.