But an underlying theme to this sacred holiday is the joy of children and family traditions. All seven of my grandchildren have at most a two-minute reacquaintance period and then they're off and running. The noise level in the house is worse than ten jet planes and there are of course occasional tears, accusations, and fits. But on the whole it's happy. Their Uncle Colin made a gingerbread house for each child and each decorated his or her own today--and each won a prize in a different category. Then there were running gun battles throughout the house not only encouraged but led by two men in the forties. The children hardly stop to be loved or hugged.
This is an Alter Christmas--every other year my children go to their in-laws but on "our" years we celebrate the way I grew up and the way my children did. That means no, you don't open presents until Christmas morning--Sawyer announced we were take a vote tonight but I nullified the vote.
We've had chicken parmesan (my turn to cook), chili (Brandon's turn but Megan made it) and tonight I made my mom's everlasting rolls and turned them into sticky buns that are waiting to rise enough to be baked. I set the rest of the dough on the porch--it will be in the 30s--and will make dinner rolls tomorrow. I haven't done that in years--it's a lot of work--but my children were ecstatic that I'm doing this. And you know what? It felt good to work the dough. Jordan offered to stir and I said no, I have to do it by how it feels. Megan said she had no idea how I knew what I was doing, not measuring. I protested I measured--milk, surgar, oil, baking powder, baking soda. But then I do add flour by the feel of the dough. I so hope I can pass that on to my girls.
The nice thing about my family is that everyone cooks, so it isn't a burden on any one. I've gotten to read and work a bit at the computer and sleep late in the morning. Tomorrow we'll have a huge breakfast and then presents and then launch into fixing turkey dressing, green bean casserole (a must!), mashed potatoes and gravy, and mac and cheese. The apple pie is made, guests are bringing appetizers, and it will be a jolly day. I hope I can get them all to go beyond the funny blessings at the table to give serious thanks for the day and all it represents and for our good fortune in being together.
May God bring each of you similar blessings this season and in the coming year. And to all, a good night.