Admittedly, I’m not a very sentimental person. I enjoy family, friends and love the Holidays, but it’s rare that I get the mushy, gushy feelings of nostalgia and over zealous Christmas cheer. I’m sure the commercialization of the Holy Day has something to do with it (but that’s another blog). Today, however was different and it all started last week.
Breakfast for Dinner
Thursday night was spent with my amazing friends. We ran our usual four to five miles and then celebrated Christmas with a “breakfast for dinner” meal in my cozy (small) condo. There were 15 of us and even though there was a lot of bumping into each other and “excuse me’s”- nobody minded. And actually, as I constantly apologized for the cramped space, I was matter-of-factly reminded that the kitchen size was bothering me more than anyone else. Thank you friends: Heard, and noted. I’m blessed to have friends in my life who choose to be together because we actually like eachother; in run, in life and in rubbing elbows (literally) while sipping wine.
Home for the Holidays
The very next day, I got to spend a WONDERFUL evening with one of my best friends, Maria, and her daughter Holly and my Lilly Lou. We started off with dinner at Pegasus’ in Greektown and just laughed and joked with the girls who, not surprisingly, looked beautiful. Christmas events are always special, the night is filled with lights and music, an excuse to wear your fanciest duds, put on full makeup including eye shadow and yes, even bring out the high heels. But especially when you experience these moments with your favorite people. They’re not little girls anymore, but on these special nights I’m taken back to many Holiday Events when they were dressed in velvet and platinum and just as giggly as this night. We finished the cheesecake and wine and made our way to Orchestra Hall to enjoy the DSO’s Home for the Holidays Performance.
Housewarming and Heartwarming
Saturday, I spent more time with friends at a get together for Vickie’s housewarming party – a few hours of laughing, (more) eating and watching Vickie open her gifts. If anyone deserves happiness and the gathering of friends in support of her during a very difficult time in ones life, she does. She is kind and thoughtful and reminds me that the hardships of life can be handled with grace and head held high. I love her, she’s a blessing in my life. Now, I have to admit, I had only planned to hang out for a couple hours since Saturday was my only day off and there was still tons to do before Christmas. Bonk. Forget that, my friends and I don’t do quickies. There is always something to talk or laugh about and my thought that I’ll be out of there by six o’clock turned into almost 9 pm. (I’ll blame Ian, he just loves when we overstay our welcome).
So, fast forward to Christmas Eve, I worked until three pm, ran around for groceries, grabbed ingredients for the next three meals (eve, morning and night) and headed home to start dinner and wrap gifts while the kids were at work. As a last minute thought, I admit, I invited my neighbor to come for Christmas Eve dinner since she has no family in Michigan. Kathy is an incredible friend and neighbor and makes the most delicious sugar cookies and caramel popcorn. The fact that she had dropped off a batch of both had nothing to do with the invite! She is always giving and always kind. Christmas is about being together and (read Thursday’s event) there’s plenty of room in my kitchen for one more. After a nice big meal, we relaxed a bit then made our way to Midnight Mass. I still find it special to go to church at that hour of night.
Every year, I wake up early, plug in the tree and put on Christmas music. Both kids enthusiastically still look forward to opening their gifts and are genuinely grateful for what they receive. It’s nice to see how their gifts to eachother have become more and more thoughtful throughout the years. (And, once again Secret Santa’s Ding-Dong-Ditch Christmas goodies were left on our front porch). After eating brunch, we load ourselves and grandma’s gifts into the car and go for a visit. As much as I love my friends, my family is the best. They are the safety and security that I don’t ever have to wonder about. It’s a given that we will always look out for eachother. We have always gotten along and our get-togethers are a good time with no “family drama”. Nani’s house has always been filled with the voices and laughter of kids and she loves taking care of us, even now when she should be sitting back, she insists on always having food ready because she’s certain someone might be hungry. And, she’s right. Someone always is.
So, as I’m hustling and bustling, getting this gift and that; planning events and attending others all while working more than a forty hour a week job (and let’s not forget trying to squeeze in a run or two), I take a few minutes on this Christmas Night and reminisce of the last few weeks and feel my Grinch-like heart “grow three sizes this day”. Every minute of all the effort is worth it. Every day I see clearer and clearer that these are all fleeting moments that quickly become memories, and the more I create the richer I am.
Thank you and Merry Christmas to every person in my life. God Bless.