Unexpected Gifts

For the first time since my now 14 year old son was an infant, we spent Christmas away from home. This was also the first year we didn’t leave milk and cookies for Santa, because my 10 year old daughter informed me a few months ago that gig was up. Spending time with both sides of the family during the holidays can be difficult to do. Throw a divorced set of grandparents into the mix and it can be a logistical nightmare. Fortunately, my divorced parents are both within a few hours drive of us, so we usually visit my dad and his wife one weekend in December and reserve Christmas day for spending it with my mom and sisters, who live here.

This year, we exchanged gifts with both of my parents, my sisters, my brother and his family (via airmail from Hawaii) and with each other prior to December 25.

My in-laws have gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to spending time with the grand kids at Christmas because my husband and I decided when the kids were still small that we would spend Christmas at home. But this year was different. Because not only were we celebrating Christmas, we were also celebrating my father-in-law’s 90th birthday on December 22. That’s a pretty big deal in my book. So we packed up the kids and Buddy Love the Dog and headed to New Mexico. The party was wonderful. My father-in-law shared a little about each decade of his life. It’s really quite amazing all the modern conveniences we take for granted.

By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, all of our gifts had already been opened. I thought it would be a let down not to have any gifts on Christmas morning, but it was far from that. Because I was the recipient of gifts void of wrapping or bows, but they were still wonderful and will be cherished:

-An unexpected White Christmas

-A nine hour car ride home on Christmas Day with nary an argument between my kids. Thank you, Jesus for books and electronic devices beginning with the small letter “i”.

-Time away from my computer. Time spent reading 11/22/63–Stephen King’s latest novel. It’s a monster of a book, and I seriously doubt I would be almost finished with it had I not been away from all of my usual distractions. I’ll let you know my final verdict when I’m done, but based upon what I’ve read so far, I’d say it’s one of his best. If you’ve read “It”, you gotta read this one. Some old friends from Derry resurface in 11/22/63. There are few things in life I enjoy more than getting lost in an epic story.

-Games of train dominoes, homemade Chex mix, cookies, candy and way too much food. Conversations and nightly play along Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune viewings. Little things, but memorable ones.

These gifts were unexpected but cherished, but not all gifts received are cherished. Sometimes when you receive a gift and you say, “Oh, you really shouldn’t have”, what you mean to say is, “No, you REALLY shouldn’t have!”.

But more on that later…

Hope y’all are having a blessed holiday season, if not downright joyful.

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