Riding out to Pam's with Karen and part of her family, I mainly kept quiet, listened to the conversation going on around me and answered when a question was directed to me. I did break into "Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house", about half a mile from Pam's, because to Karen and me, it WAS grandmother's house and when she was little and all of us in the car, we'd sing that on the way to this very same house.
Then the kids starting singing it with, "to Aunt Pammie's house we go.", which was perfect.
As I walked into the living room, my son immediately got out of his chair and came to give me a hug. That was not expected. He usually sits and waits for me to go to him. I think perhaps, when you come to the full realization of your own mortality, it changes you. He seemed to be much more invested in the family festivities, than he has other years past.
On occasions like this, our family doesn't talk of unpleasant things. There is no gossip. There are no snide remarks. If you sit very quietly and listen--there is a constant undertone of giggles coming from all over the house. Someone is always laughing--always.
I heard my sister and Karen giggling out in the kitchen. I heard my grand daughter Helene giggling with her sister over on the other side of the living room. Pam and Cindy were giggling out in the dining room. My SonIL and his two boys, giggling, while they were laying under the table, trying to get the puppy to sleep and I even heard my son (who never giggles) talking with his young niece Maddie and laughing.
I just sat and listened and smiled and tried not to let the moisture in my eyes, creep down my face.
It was all so perfect and wonderful. Even though Jennifer's family was missing, as my sister said yesterday, "There wasn't enough room for seven more young kids running around anyway." (Her son's family also not present). Not the way I would have looked at it because there is always room for that, in my opinion, but.................
Susan and Chuck came down Christmas Day and we had a good time. We played three games of "Skip Bo"--a card game and one I had never played, thus I won all three games.
With just the three of us, we COULD talk of matters--Jennifer's moving, Susan's daughter-in-law INSISTING they go on a cruise (the 3rd this year) at Christmas time because, she loves cruises because she sits by the pool all the time and
So yes--Susan and Chuck and I had our gossip then, while playing cards, but, it too was a wonderful time. I have noticed that as my sister ages, her always happy attitude is waning. She does have her cranky moments--quite often. She has become critical of others. I think perhaps, her moving to The Farm has been a disappointment. It HAD to be. She had planned this move for 20 years. I doubt it has lived up to her anticipation and expectations.
I had the front screen door open most of Christmas Day. It was 53, sunny and quite warm inside. Chuck took a picture of Susan and me, on my porch, in back of the Christmas wreath, clad in our light weight tops with sleeves pushed up.
Today--it is cold and bleak. I have no expectations. Day by Day--whatever comes.
It is "boxing" day. To me that means, Christmas decorations are boxed up and put away. Only the last decade have I done this, but.....I like a nice, clean, neat house to usher in a clean, neat New Year.