It’s finally January, 2019. I haven’t written for quite a few weeks now. That’s what happens when the holidays roll around. Speaking of the holidays; I was dreading every part of them and much to my surprise things turned out differently than I had expected.
We couldn’t put up a Christmas tree because we have a 9 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy who can easily take down a beautiful pine in the forest let alone a small artificial tree. We also have a no gift exchange policy with our adult children because we don’t need anything and they can’t afford to buy us presents so what’s the point. But we do buy gifts for the grandchildren and that is where things got interesting.
I have 3 teenage granddaughters, 1 teenage grandson and 2 baby grandsons aging 3 and 4. My teenage grandson and his 3 year old baby brother live in another state so I had so send them their gifts. I asked each one of the older kids what they would like for Christmas and they told me that they didn’t want anything. That kind of warms my heart that they didn’t feel the need to ask me for anything. They are so sweet and kind.
I live an hour and a half away from my family which includes my siblings, my mom, my son and daughter-in-law and the 4 grandchildren. Christmas Eve happens to be my mother’s birthday and Christmas day is my son’s birthday. As you can see, the holidays are just a little bit more than your average celebration, what with birthdays thrown into the mix.
I made the drive and went to see my grandkids first. For the three girls, I gave them each a gift bag with a pack of socks from the dollar store and also a gift card. Each one of them was so excited about the socks that they immediately put them on. They were thankful for the gift cards but the excitement was really about the socks. My 4 year old grandson opened his present which was a farm truck that he had to build. It came with a drill and screws and screwdriver and it could be made into four different types of vehicles. After playing with it for well over an hour, he came up to me and said, “Gramom, I really love this.” My heart immediately melted. The three girls are your typical teenage girls who love dancing and singing to the radio. They decided to put songs on and they each had a microphone bluetooth device so we all sat there singing our favorite songs. Then came the dancing. They put the television on and went to youtube and pulled up some kind of dance video and it began. All four of us were dancing to the video and laughing and singing every step of the way. Of course, my daughter-in-law has a video to blackmail me with if I decide to get on her nerves. HAHA. After all the fun, we loaded up in the car and went to a farm to see a magnificent light show. We tuned into the proper radio chanel and listened to Christmas music as we drove through the illuminating extravaganza.
I didn’t need a tree, or presents or anything else. I felt joy that has been illusive to me for quite some time. Joy that will last for the rest of my lifetime. A Christmas miracle you could say. In all its simplicity, the finest joy a person could feel. The true meaning of Christmas.
That night I slept at my mom’s house because the following day was her birthday. She was so excited to celebrate her 87th birthday. The evening before, while I was with my grandkids, she decided to bake herself a birthday cake. She hasn’t baked in years and it was surprising to me that she wanted to, but her exuberance about this birthday was notable. When I returned to her house that night, I asked her how the cake came out and she said it was a disaster but she managed to “glue” it back together with icing. I will never forget the laughter that we shared about that cake.
Everything about those two days gave me the extreme joy that a person should feel at Christmastime. The greatest gift ,as always has been, is the gift of Love. We don’t need all the fancy wrappings and expensive items to show our love for each other. An evening of dancing and singing and laughing with a couple of teenagers and a little boy; A day with an elderly woman excited to celebrate another year alive; These are the most passionate and thoughtful gifts a person can recieve.