Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas seems like a dream

A lazy group--look at the logs in those walls!
Here I am, sitting at my computer in my office at home, and the last five days seem like a delicious dream. I spent them with all fifteen of my family in a log cabin (oxymoron) mansion in a resort on either Lake LBJ or Lake Buchanan or in between the two lakes. No water visible from our cabin except a swimming pool and hot tub. There were five bedrooms, plus a dorm-style room which accommodated all the grandkids. Lots of common space for hanging out, a well-equipped kitchen, and I had my own little desk at a small table adjacent to the kitchen. When someone came to talk, I invited them into my office.

Pair of aces take it
We were blessed with mountains of gifts—enough to make any family blush at our largesse. Books, clothes, books, family pictures, a poker set, you name it and it was in that pile. Some of us did a huge and difficult jigsaw puzzle (and finished it except for one missing piece); others played monopoly; at night they were rowdy poker games.

And we ate—and ate and ate. I was the laziest one there. My meals were served to me, and I wasn’t expected to help with cleanup. We had chili, tacos, a family favorite casserole, the traditional turkey dinner for Christmas with three or four desserts. I discovered Christmas Crack, which is a toffee/chocolate thing easily made with saltines. Can you imagine? So good. Hats off here to my two daughters and two DILs—they labored long and hard in the kitchen, and it was always spotless before they went to bed.
Grandkids at Christmas dinner
I don’t help anymore because they have their act together and I feel like Adam’s off ox. My one duty was to remove the giblets and put butter under the skin of the turkey—Colin did it with Megan’s help. First time she ever touched a raw turkey (and she’s slightly over 40). I enjoy the pampering I get but sometimes—okay, a lot—I want to be part of the action in the kitchen. Next year, when I’m walking better, watch my smoke!

A special moment: my mom had a wonderful roll dough recipe which the children remember to this day. Megan not only made the dough and served rolls for Christmas dinner, she made one of her grandmother’s Christmas tree cakes and the pecan sticky buns Grandmother used to make. A sentimental walk back in time for me.

I had moments with the grandchildren and with my adult children—a couple of evenings around a fire pit on the patio, while the children splashed in the hot tub and dared each other to jump into the cold pool—which most of them did.

What can I say, except that I am blessed with a wonderful family and so grateful? I hope in the midst of it all we didn’t forget the gifts of hope and peace that come with this holiday. I think my grandchildren are young enough still that “What did I get?” overwhelms them, but I hope the rest of us realize the importance of what the celebration stands for. I read a wonderful piece lately by Jewish author Sara Paretsky who said she loves the story of the babe and the hope for peace that the story brings to the world. She ended it with the Jewish prayer that, loosely tanslated says, “May the One who establishes peace in the high places bring peace to us all.” Amen.

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