We watched “That Thing You Do” all together, and then made up some beds for four little girls under the tree. Well, not exactly under. Enid was a bit disappointed to find out that I was not, in fact, going to move all the presents and put her pillow directly under the branches. They fell asleep in the glow of Christmas lights and anticipation.
We spent Christmas Eve day making food for the evening, playing games, eating bagel sandwiches, taking naps, and finally got dressed for the evening’s celebration. Rain followed by ice followed by a blizzard of snow and intense wind made the whole day an adventure, and even our short drive felt harrowing.
Our gathering was small, thanks to nearly impossible weather, but beautiful and special. My older boys spent plenty of time over the past week helping to set up and tear down, as well as ushering and singing in choirs and doing special readings. Beatrice played piano and it was just lovely, and the two older girls sang with several other children as we lit our candles and paused to understand that LIGHT has come to rescue us from darkness. It was so special.
Then we were home, turning on music and lighting candles, pulling out the food and getting ready for our family “party.” We ate our food and drank eggnog, laughed and talked, passed out gifts purchased by siblings for siblings, and then put on the new pajamas we give them each year. We were exhausted and slap-happy, starting to show the beginnings of what would be a week full of virus, and most of all, delighting in how fun Christmas Eve is all together.
Daddy and the older kids all slept in while Percival and I lit candles and started the fire and made coffee and just waited. Finally they stirred and we began a day full of excitement and gratitude, new games and new books to read and piles to organize, food flops and food successes, and dropping like flies (at least Enid and Mama and Daddy) as the day progressed. A Celtics game, delicious vanilla pudding with berries and cream, and to bed we all went, only to wake to another vacation day together, with plenty of space for vitamins and rest, more games and trying out new crafts, pulling our house back together, and just being.
…and finding great joy in older sisters’ gifts.