It took twenty four hours longer than anticipated (airplane schedules and all that misery) but eventually the nine of us sat around our cozy kitchen table, eating. Peter poured the San Pellegrino, Ella watched us all with her sober wide-eyed stare, Jacob didn’t sit in his seat (I guess somethings do change…eventually), Mom sat in quiet wonder surrounded and delighted. Dad made a speech, Joanna interrupted the speech to crack a joke and lighten the mood, Jennifer took a picture, John watched our antics with amusement.
The chaos, the splendor, the conversations, the silence. Everything lovely about family wrapped into one beautiful week, tied with a bow, bookended by two holidays.
We came from British Columbia (two airplanes, eight hours), Tennessee (one car, seven hours), Arizona (two airplanes, seven delays, over twenty-four hours) and convened in North Carolina. Ella’s first Christmas in North Carolina, Peter’s first Christmas as a member of the family, our first Christmas as a family of NINE.
Back in our childhood home, we sat around the table we’d done school at as a child. Back in the childhood home, we unwrapped presents in the Living Room we used to have Christmas Eve slumber parties. Instead of being the child, we watched the first grandchild experience Christmas and play “Santa” for the first time, passing out gifts to (usually) the right person.
Dad schemed to be able to cook stew in the rain out the back of a Subaru , carried it piping hot in to the waiting crowd, triumphed. We celebrated half of the family clan; my Grandparents had three of their six children visiting and we had not even half of the grandkids (and great grand kids) cuddled under that Christmas tree. Mom and Ella made ornaments for next year’s Christmas tree.
A couple of doting, attentive, proud, spoiling Aunts took Ella on a woodsy walk ……and introduced her to the family swing.We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning playing games. And more games. We drank decadent amounts of specialty coffees (brewed by french press or chemex) from hand-crafted mugs (made by my sisterfriend!).
We explored Old Salem and looked super cute. (And check out Ella’s Kewe Clothing shirt: isn’t that the coolest? Her karate kick proves what a supercalifragilisticthisbesuchadopekid she is. :-P) The boys worked on cars . . . the girls watched.
And that, my friends, is what I call a perfect Christmas vacation. =)