Every year the family gets matching shirts, or PJs or something of the like that get opened up on Christmas Eve. This year is was Messina shirts that say in Italian “Family is Everything”. It has been my mantra for a long time but since my diagnosis, it has taken on a ferocity for me. I have never questioned that my calling was to be a wife and mother. It is surely what God had in mind for me for a vocation. Christmas is such a special time. Not just because we get together as family but for WHY we are getting together. This year was weird. I know, preaching to the choir, right? I don’t know that I have ever missed a Christmas Eve Mass….but I sat next to our lit tree and watched it live streamed from our church. I missed seeing my friends and giving them huge hugs and telling everyone I saw, “Merry Christmas!”….it was just kinda strange. Rich’s family is of Italian heritage and usually try and do a meal of 7 fishes on Christmas Eve. We don’t really have enough of us around the table on Christmas Eve to warrant that tradition, but I did make lobster linguine that was well received! I think Tim was a bit nervous, as he asked me if I had ever made it before….I gave him a hearty, “Nope! And it is going to be great!”, in response. Tim flew in from Colorado on Wednesday night and then flew back home Saturday, late afternoon. Joe and Michelle arrived from Kansas City on Christmas Day around noon and then left around 6 the next evening. So it was a short stay for everyone, but we had a lot of good food, took lots of family photos, and played a lot of board games. Although Settlers of Catan is our go-to board game with family, we tried a new board game from under the tree called Trekking Across the World. It took a bit for everyone to grasp the rules, but it is a fun game to have as you learn a bit about geography as well. It is kinda fun because we have been to a lot of the places.
I had such a wonderful time just watching all my adult kids interact with one another. They have all grown into such wonderful people and I am so fortunate to see the goodness in their hearts and their sense of humors! Such laughing and storytelling! The last time they were all here under my roof was for my birthday last February. I was bald and so sick that I couldn’t really carry on a conversation because I would get so out of breath. I just listened then as well…enjoying hearing about their lives, their jobs, their friends, their dreams and goals. Last Christmas I was in a pretty bad spot emotionally and spiritually. I was panicked that I had no time….no time to spend with these precious family members I love so deeply. I wasn’t sure I would even be here this year. But I am…and I had a wonderful time soaking in memories and hopefully making good ones for them. I am no longer panicked about time. God will take me when He is ready and not before. Will I be here for Christmas in 2021? I don’t know, but I bought my Christmas cards for 50% off yesterday, so I am planning on it.
A special thank you to MeiLing for a family-made goat’s milk soap and a beautiful Irish marble green heart…totally love it! Kathy Martz dropped off some super cute homemade snowmen to decorate my house with! Judi sent a book on Christmas that I can’t wait to start. Catherine Schroeder, my Trinidadian friend via Iowa, gave me a hat and chocolates. Michelle Krueger gave me an adorable snowman and a corn bag to heat up and put on my body when it aches. It has boxing gloves all over it and I absolutely LOVE it! It will get very good use! I received a card from 4 Catholic women that I admire greatly….Sue, Emily, Barb & Jodi. They all are members at my parish. They each wrote words of love and encouragement to me and then also gave me a gift of money to go and pamper myself. I was so very touched and surprised by this gift! Thank you so much, sisters in Christ! The kids all went in together and got me an autographed photo of one of my very favorite fighters…Georges St- Pierre. He is a Canadian MMA fighter that I have always really admired. That was a total surprise and a fun one! Lily got me a wok! Look out world…Cyndi has a wok. All bets are off on homemade fried rice now! I have an induction stove top (cooks with magnets). I absolutely love it, but you can’t just have any old pan. Lily managed to find a large wok that would work on my stove. Yay! Bring on the cold winter weather! Rich is not one to give gifts…he would rather give experiences. We leave on January 7th to head to Beavercreek, Colorado. Rich and Lily will ski for two days (with Tim joining them for one) and then the other day will have all four of us on a snowmobiling adventure up to Maroon Bells. I am trying to work on some photography skills before we head out there. I will have two days to explore on my own….so if any of my Colorado friends know of something fun to do, let me know! Until then, I wanted to share some of our family photos from Christmas Day and Boxing Day!