Today is the first day of the holiday break. The morning was too lovely not to notice, as I drove to work. There was a mist hanging over the fields and pastures. When the sun rose over the tree line, the mist became tinted and what a difference, it made to the countryside. The sun looked like a bright clementine for a while. Moments later it turned the color that only the sun can claim. . . though maybe the daffodils would disagree, as they come as close as anything I know of.
The air was only slightly chilled. So far, a warm Christmas day is predicted. I took a chance and put a live poinsettia out by the lamp post. The temperature even at night, is supposed to be mild. . . time will tell, as it always does.
School dismissed early today and I took full advantage of that. I bought a gift for my sister, filled the car with gas, and then came home. I commenced to wrapping presents, determined to finish that project. Tomorrow, at long last, I am going to Elizabeth City, and I so want to leave the house in good order.
It took the best part of the afternoon, but it is with great pleasure I can say that the presents are wrapped and nestled beneath the tree. Most of the ornaments have been hung and how beautifully familiar they are. The kitchen is a kitchen again-and oh, the Christmas china is on the table. I also started packing. How good it feels to prepare for a visit with my only daughter and grandchild. I will stay a few days and then come back to the rabbit patch, for my older sons, Brant and Tres are coming home on Christmas eve. To say, I am “happy as a lark” is an understatement. If all goes well, I hope to have a special supper for Christmas eve. Lyla will be waiting for Santa, for the first time this year, so they will not come til Christmas day. I have no idea what time my sons will arrive, either. It matters little to me, what details work out, as long as they all get here safely. I always say, that I am my happiest, when my children are all gathered and sleeping under my roof again. Of course, they find this amusing and have no comprehension of this notion. The boys tease me, that we are sleeping-and so they wonder how this could evoke such joy for me. The truth is, all I know is that for a little while, we are “the way we were”.
When the children were young, they received three gifts from Santa-in keeping with the gifts of the “Wise men”. Jenny plans to do so with Lyla. One of the gifts, was always a book-and I still have them, of course. Mama would ask the children what they wanted for Christmas, and they would say things like Lucky Charms or White bread. When Jenny was two, she asked Santa for”fried chicken and diamond earrings”. These stories still tickle me. Tres asked for a snowman one year, as we have never had a white Christmas, in this “neck of the woods”. Lyla has already visited with Santa and she asked for “presents”. When I was young, I saw the “real Santa” and did not know it at the time.
Mama used to sew and make all of our “Sunday ” dresses. Sometimes they matched, but not always. I used to hate the “fittings” for I was bound to get stuck by pins no matter how still I stood. The fittings also seemed to come at the most undesirable times, too. They seemed to come, when my sister I were creating the most exciting dramas with our dolls. Mama sewed a lot and we took little notice of what she was doing at the sewing machine. In fact, we tried to steer clear of Mama altogether, when she was sewing.
Most every year, we got a doll for Christmas-real dolls that looked like babies and shut their eyes to go to sleep. I probably loved dolls more than any other toy. I still remember their names, for the dolls were our companions and were never far from us. One year, the dolls came with a lot of little dresses. I thought “Santa” had performed some miracle, as the dolls had dresses made from the same materials as our own. I remember knowing one dress was going to be itchy, and so did not make the doll wear that one often.
It was years later when I pieced things together. I was no longer playing with dolls and so I asked Mama about that particular Christmas. Mama said money was especially tight that year, and so she made all of those little dresses. She said it was tedious work, as the dresses were so little and it took her a long while to make them. That is when it “dawned on me”, that I had seen the real Santa, after all.
One year Kyle asked for a bike for Christmas. We bought one , not assembled, as money was tight that year for us. I wanted that bike put together and begged my husband to do so weeks before Christmas. Jamie said it would take him twenty minutes tops and not to worry. Jamie worked on that bike for hours, Christmas Eve night-finally a neighbor and friend joined the effort. Nuts and bolts were missing, and some were not the right size. It was a harrowing night and I declare Kyle got up within an hour of the completion. . .the real Santa forgot to eat the cookies, that year.
It is raining at the early service. It is a softly falling rain, and begs one to linger under a soft blanket. I have a lot of “loose ends” to tie up, before I leave, so I can not heed the beckoning of a morning rain. I must use extra caution on my drive to Elizabeth City. I must pack the rain coat- and the “Christmas books” that tell the stories of the many reasons, I love Christmas. I will sing “Joy to the World” with Lyla and “Away in a Manger”-Lyla will sing her “Twinkle Bells” and I will laugh-and I am bound to cry too, as I am so sentimental (and Irish).
Dear Diary-I am glad for Christmas, when hearts are especially tender to one another. I am glad for memories of being loved, for I always have been. . . and I am especially glad that “All hearts come home for Christmas”.