I know many people attend church at Christmas and Easter, reaching for the heavens at these special times of year. I, for one, never want to attend church at Christmas, as the surrounding of friends and family feels entirely sacred, and the very embodiment of what Jesus came for.
This year was extraordinarily special as we returned to my Grandparent's home Up North - the home that embodies family and festivity in all my childhood memories. My parents were there, as was my sister, and it was wonderful to be in that cosiest of places, sharing decades of traditions with my children.
Can I share a bit of it with you?
This is the house my father grew up in. It's not the house where my grandparents live now, but it embodies the beauty and history of the area where we spend Christmas. Isn't it lovely?
These are my grandparents. They have been married 64 years. She has alzheimers, and no longer knows who any of us are, but my grandfather can still make her laugh and she still steals a kiss when he's not expecting it. He still calls her his lover, and witnessing their love was amazing.
My grandmother latched onto Sprout, and the connection between them was lovely. The children made her cards, which she read, over and over again "To Grandma, I love you, Sprout." "You're the greatest Grandma ever, from your grandchild, Small Sun." She fixated on them like treasures, and looked from card to Sprout and back again, for nearly half an hour.
Typically wary of strangers, my Grandmother immediately reached for Sprout, and wanted to hold her hand to walk down the hallway, and patted the couch for her to sit close when they sat down. I walked behind, snapping pictures and wiping tears.
This is my grandfather. He is 87 and magnificent. He always tears up when telling stories of people doing good deeds, or people in hardship. Maintaining tenderness and empathy across a lifespan strikes me as amazing.
This is the annual Christmas Brunch that my Grandfather treats us to at the country club where he has walls of golf trophies on display. It is the most decadent and extravagant meal my children get to experience, complete with valet parking, coat check, fancy bathrooms, and multiple forks.
Small Sun was blessed to speak to his birthfamily on the phone on Christmas day, and he made a snow angel on his first mom's request. I Facebooked her the picture. I love how our openness is developing.
Isn't his nose so reindeer adorable?
Isn't my sister stunnnig? I love, love, love her, and getting to be near her is like the chocolatiest piece of chocolate cake, with ganache, AND chocolate ice cream. Perfect.
Small Sun and my dad working on their treehouse plans, amongest the wreckage of Christmas dinner. My dad is Small Sun's biggest champion, and having my dad's support as I struggle through parenting means so very, very much to me.
How does your family spend Christmas afternoon? We walked in the woods, found an icy patch in the creek, and worked to carry logs to throw over the bridge in effort to break up the ice. You know, just your average Christmas entertainment. It was so much fun.
A couple memories stand out with dizzying sweetness.
Finch, crawling home from the woods at dusk on Chritmas Day, pretending to be a Stegasaurus. He stopped and asked me to take his mittens off so he could poke three fingers to make Stegasaurus prints in the snow.
As night fell, we walked hand in hand, past the twinkle lights, towards home. My heart was full to bursting, and I felt the weight of being "home" with my family, to be the most treasured gift. The Captain and I stole a lingering kiss, and all was right in my world. I hope your Christmas was lovely too!