Another Christmas Story

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I came to Elizabeth City, Tuesday evening.  I was determined to be there before dark, as I am not prone to drive after dark-and it is not just because I am older.  I have never fancied driving in general, not even in youth and never after dark.  I went to work, went to an appointment for Daddy and encountered a detour, but I was there by twilight, anyway.  

Lyla was in a Christmas program at her preschool, and I had missed it last year.  I wanted this memory for my collection and so it was worth what it took to get here.  Besides that, Brynn, being an infant, is changing constantly.  I can no longer imagine life without her.  She is a calm, baby and a beautiful one too.  The sweetest thing is Lyla has never harbored one iota of jealousy against Brynn.  They are the dearest little pair, for Lyla is quite attentive to her little sister and Brynn smiles about it.

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The program on Wednesday, was a nice affair.  The children wore their “Christmas best”  and sang songs like “Away in a Manger” and recited rhymes that began “Wisemen came from way afar . . .” and  “Let us spread some Christmas Cheer”-Well, it was a wonderful way to spend an hour.  Afterwards, Lyla decided that Brynn should have a manger too – and a box and a blanket would do, just fine.

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Jenny and I managed a little bit of shopping, afterwards.  It was very hard on Lyla, for she so wanted a certain doll and could not bear to leave it there.  She was not worried about an elf reporting her mischief, or that the “sweet baby Jesus” would not forgiver her.  Lyla, thankfully, did not cause  enough of a ruckus to set off an alarm, but Jenny spent a fair amount of time, whispering in Lylas’ ear. 

When we got home, Jenny went out again to complete her errands.  Brynn wailed for a few minutes, but then then drifted off to sleep.  Lyla and I made cookies and I am glad to report the results were just perfect.  Once again, fortitude paid off, for my quest to be a baker of  cookies fit to eat,  is being realised, at long last.  A “Honeybee” ought to be able to make cookies , at least.

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Will and Jenny had plans to attend a celebration honoring a friend, Sarah, who recently got her Masters Degree.  Will was especially tired and ended up staying home with the children and I.    It was a wonderful time.  Brynn was quite content with her daddy and so Lyla, and I were watching the Polar Express.  Lyla had never had hot chocolate and so I made her a cup of  the homemade kind.  It was a peaceful happy evening . . .until just before Jenny walked in the back door.  Brynn, for some reason, started crying,  Jennys’ very old dog, did not make it to the backdoor, but before I could tend to that, the entire cup of hot chocolate somehow escaped from the sealed cup -and on to the couch.  It was  terrible mess and Brynn was crying all the while.  What a commotion erupted at just the wrong moment, and all at once.  Will was walking with Brynn, and stepped right where the dog had her mishap and so he yelled out, too.  I was scared senseless at the sight of the sofa-well, we all were.  Jenny took Brynn and I hurriedly mixed up a batch of stain remover (peroxide and soap) and went to work on the sofa.  Jenny quieted Brynn and it wasn’t long before peace was restored, though we all were worse for the wear and tear. . . .and yes, the chocolate came out.

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On Thursday, I gave Lyla my Christmas gift.  I know it was early, but I thought it best she have it as she waited for Christmas.  I gave her a nativity, suitable that she can handle the little figurines and “tell the story”.  She was delighted and took great note as I used the pieces to tell her the story.  I have been telling her about the first Christmas for weeks, adding more details each time.  Of course, if you walk in the door, you are likely to “hear the story” before you can sit down.  When Will came in, Lyla insisted he listen before he put his brief case down.  In the midst of the shepherds arriving, Lyla noticed a switch on the stable and what a pleasant surprise, to see the thing light up!

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Daddy has surgery scheduled for Friday.  The surgery itself, is not the least bit complicated, but as we all know, there is no such thing as “minor surgery” when it is your father.  Daddy is eighty three, after all and so we are all a bit anxious.  On account of this, I am leaving early on Friday morning .  I will cross the three rivers and drive past the resting fields, and wait with my mom and sisters for the thing to be over.  

The concept of having a family and what it means, becomes clearer, as we age.  We enter as babies and grow up with their rules and values.  As children, expectations are set for us to live up to.  We are taught how to behave , under all conditions.  We are given habits and our thoughts are shaped as the elders see fit.  Then there comes that time, when we all naturally want independence from all of it -and them.  We entertain  foreign notions and may want to act differently than we were taught.  We are likely to quarrel and feel inclined to establish our own ideas. . . . when we hardly know a thing, actually.  . . .Then we get older . . and find out . . .they were mostly right about everything.

It is a wonderful and spectacular thing to grow up loved.  To matter deeply to others.  To be provided for and to be taught how to live.  Right or wrong, that kind of devotion ought not be taken lightly.  If we live to be old, we realise deeply what a family is and what it means to belong to  our people and for them to belong to us.

  And so . . .  I will wait thankfully, with my family for a person, that binds us all more tightly than we could have ever imagined  in our youth.   . .and I will claim them every one -proudly.

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20 thoughts on “Another Christmas Story

  1. Oh goodness those days are hard to forget. We had one the other night at my sons. He leaves today for offshore and they had Christmas early of course.. That evening I came for supper and to see what all the kids had under the tree . Brooklyn ,the new 4year old, fell off the counter while mixing up some tea. She had slipped off the table the day before and Daddy had just had enough. Don’t ask why she wasn’t on a stool or a chair because I don’t understand a lot of things that go on with 6 children under 8 years. lol All is well today but who knows what tomorrow might bring.
    Cookies….now I need to be doing that too.

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  2. I love how Lyla loves Brynn. I always remember her tears of joy holding Brynn for the first time. And her telling her bunny? “Well we didn’t get a baby there.”
    What an unfortunate series of events between the spill and the mess and the crying! Glad the chocolate came out!
    Prayers for your dad. My parents are 85 this year, so I know….

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  3. Prayers for your Daddy Michele. Family is a great blessing. I’m so glad you have them. I miss my folks every day and well remember the stresses of caring for them when they were not well. I wish for the best for everyone.

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  4. What beautiful and so very true thoughts on family. I pray your dad makes out just fine. My dad is 87, so I totally understand your concerns. Blessings to you all!

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  5. Absolutely loved this post Michele. It is amazing how alike we are….the love of our grandchildren’s programs and the joy of being introduced to their world. All the way to worry about our dads who are in their 80s. My dad is 85 and we worry every time a “minor” thing comes up with him.
    Glad to hear you got the stain out! I confess I did laugh about Will stepping the dog issue LOL.

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  6. Wishing all the best for your father’s upcoming surgery. You’re right, at a certain age, we worry about even the “minor” procedures. And as for the babysitting episode, that’s always the way, isn’t it? Everything goes fine right up until two minutes before the parents come home! Glad it all ended well.

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  7. Wonderful post, Michele. I’m glad Lyla’s school allowed “Away in a Manger”. We can’t do that up here. ☹️ I’m so glad you gave Lyla the nativity early on! Merry Christmas to you! 🎄

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