The parties are winding down. Living in the same community where we were born means we’re surrounded by family. Christmas time means juggling lots of subsets of immediate and extended family. It can get complicated.
Some relatives like the parties and always attend and contribute to the festivities. Some don’t. And we can fuss and fret over how to include them, how to make them feel comfortable, how to do it different next year so they'll stay longer. Or we can decide, as I have, that all we can do is create the opportunity. Bake the ham, make the phone calls, give them a warm welcome and leave the rest to them. Hopefully one day they’ll show up and make a connection with a cousin they haven’t seen in years. They might set for a while with grandpa and leave with that wonderful feeling of connectedness that stays with them long into January.
Besides the parties, we had some great times alone with just the kids. On Christmas evening we watched old home videos. Anna and Seth swing dancing at two and four years old. Mark schooling Callie on Cash in preparation for the 4-H fair. Anna practicing Amelia Bedelia for drama class. We laughed til we cried at the kids, with tights on their heads, dancing on our bed to Birddog by the Tokens. We enjoyed again, watching Seth on the guitar begrudgingly accompanying Anna on the fiddle, and she and I doing piano duets.
We relived Callie's winning solo as a senior and her volleyball finesse. Oh what memories.
With all the togetherness time, the gift giving, parties, traveling and food preparation, there’s plenty of room for screw-ups and hurt feelings. But we forgive and concentrate on moments. We bake pies and light candles. We sweep the walk, hang wreaths, gather up pinochle decks and word games, mash the spuds, and celebrate the season with whoever graces our front door.