The rabbitpatch was quiet on Christmas morning. Christian had to work an early shift, Will and Jenny were home with the children, of course . . well everybody was somewhere else. Our family gathers at my parents on Christmas night, so naturally, I had some things to do to prepare.
I did not mind the solitude, even if it was Christmas. Long gone are the days of my own childrens’ childhood. Now, one is married, with her own little ones . Years pass and things are bound to change. That is what you can truly count on . . .change. There are new joys now and new ways to make memories . We must adapt or else we are likely to feel gloomy yearning for what once was.
I thought of such things on my “Silent Morning” . I had not been to a true “early service” in a while and I had missed it. The sun broke the darkness up and seemed to say “Joy to the World”, in doing so. I was sure the trees knew it was Christmas and the wild creatures in the woods. Only things made by man would be so dull, so as not to know, I thought. After I thought about a good deal of things more, I began peeling apples for a pie.
Thankfully, “The Bishops’ Wife” was on, and so I watched that as I worked, It is a delightful film, without a bit of tragedy, and was quite suitable for Christmas morning. At intervals, I would remember a tag to be placed or a gift to add to my collection and I would abandon the apples. Mama and I tied up a good many loose ends on the phone. She needed bags and I needed an envelope and so on.
I thought about Mary and Joseph. The birth of the first child is always a happy but overwhelming event. What must they have felt? I can not imagine being talked to by angels about the child, I was carrying, and then some strangers rush in as the babe lay sleeping, to tell you there was a “Heavenly birth announcement! Mary had a lot to “ponder”. . .so did Joseph. Goodness, I remember when the school wanted to see me, to tell me that my Tres had an extremely high IQ. It scared me senseless! How in the world would I raise this child? I felt feeble minded and lacking right off. I hoped chasing little goats and climbing trees, building forts and finding rocks, would somehow be enough. As it turns out, it was. So my thoughts rambled on Christmas morning til the pie was done and the Bishop stopped thinking about a cathedral, and turned his thoughts to his family.
Jenny called and told me the details of their morning. Lyla was pleasantly surprised that Santa came. I think she realised, that the tale of Santa, was really too good to be true, but she went along with it, just in case. Jenny said Lyla was as concerned that little Brynn had gifts, as she was for herself. Jenny threw some things together for her infant, quickly and happened to find Lyla not looking as she did so. Lyla was delighted for Brynn. One of the things that I am really content about is Lylas’ unselfish love for her sister. She has never spoken a word against her, nor been jealous. I think Lyla was relieved too, that those nosy elves were long gone, for she asked Jenny about them. Lyla had said earlier that she did not think “elves should be flying around childrens’ houses.”
Christian was home by mid afternoon and Kyle came about the same time. The sun was setting, as we drove to my parents. We had all decided to keep Christmas more simple this year. We drew names, for the first time ever and shaved the menu. Still, our car was loaded and I kept fearing, I had forgotten something, as we rode along. The sky was beautiful and I saw a photographer in a field capturing the beauty. It did my heart good, to know he appreciated the majesty of the evening and braved the cold to prove it. I thought someone should take his picture, while he worked.
The boys unloaded the car and Mama and I made a mad dash to stuff the envelope and find the right bags, for her gifts. It was a secret work and we talked in whispers . . .and hurriedly. Lyla ran in saying “Merry Christmas!” and Brynn was fussed over. It was her first Christmas, after all. We ate til we were full, and still did not make a dent in the food. My apple pie did not even get cut, for Connie stole the show with her pies. Her chocolate chess was the best I had ever eaten. I will say, that my cheddar, garlic biscuits remained a hit-and Delores made the oreo truffles that are always a favorite. Mama cooked a ham and Daddy made a pot of beans and there was too much more to mention. Maybe one day, I will write our Christmas Cookbook, for future generations, I thought.
We opened our gifts, and then played music. Brant and I played violins and Christian played his guitar. Jenny forgot Lylas’ violin and Dana forgot hers, when she went to retrieve a gift. Lyla found a drum and so some of her sorrow was lifted. After the concert, we began the task of packaging the food to be sent with willing guests and putting the extra chairs away. There was trash to be taken out , counters and floors . . .and no one was spared a duty.
On Christmas night, back at the rabbitpatch, I donned a new soft sweatshirt for bed and used a rose lotion, I had been gifted. I saw that Mama and Daddy had really put too much in that little envelope. I looked at a calendar, Connie had made of our family pictures. I held a little figurine of a boxer , that Dana had painted with every marking my Cash bears. Hayley used her new camera to record our moments and Brandon, had grown a lot. There were so many tender moments -Tres talking to my dad and all wanting to hold Brynn. Delores had surprised me with handmade matching aprons for Lyla and I and a bib for Brynn. The fabric had honeybees all over it and I was quite impressed. Delores confessed she was sewing the last stitches just before the gathering. I doubt I will ever wear it, that I do not think of that.
Daddy had an appointment, the day after Christmas. It was just a follow up from his recent surgery and all was well. All of my sons were spending the night at the rabbitpatch, so that was the icing on the “Christmas cake”, for me. I cooked a big supper and hummed the whole time. Even Cash and Christopher Robin were so happy, for Cash danced around and Christopher Robin purred. The boys stayed up late, watching some game and so , I suspected, the big breakfast, I had planned would certainly be a brunch. I can not complain one bit. If it were up to me, I would have them stay a month -or forever.
The next day after Christmas , I awoke with a smile. I do not know why, and can not explain it, but there is something so beautiful when the children sleep under my roof. At least this time, I had my sons. (Will and Jenny are visiting with Wills’ dad and grandmother.) We did have brunch, as I had predicted, which worked out well, as Christian had to work that blessed early shift again. He came home just in time, so the kitchen table was full, as I like it best. After we ate, the boys had a big discussion about how to address the repairs needed at the old farmhouse. Then they rearranged some furniture for me . Before I knew it, they had to go. Now, it seemed like Christmas was over.
Though the holiday, itself has passed, we needn’t pack the wonder of it all away with the ornaments and ribbons. Let us remember how it felt to give . . .and to receive, for there is an art to both. Not all gifts are manufactured, nor must they be wrapped in pretty paper. . . and gathering should not be reserved for just days recognized as holidays. . . . Things like generosity and goodwill can be practiced just as deftly, when the mimosa blooms. We ought to love as we do at Christmas, always.