Yesterday, day of peace, not stress, day of family not distress, day of waves.
Waves of activity – of children opening gifts that appear overnight, then each wave of family arriving gave rise to another round of exchanging and squeals of delight, two lovely healthy safe children surrounded by family.
At the end of the day a long table – 14 in all, everyone there except one who died this year – sounds and sights of a family of wellness and of plenty, a family of flawed humans having a flawless day, atmosphere if kindness and laughter …
It doesn’t get better than that, does it?
I was remembering 1972 – the year I got married for the first time, there were similar numbers around a series of table nudged up against each other. My parents, in-laws and parents of others were ‘the older generation’. Fast forward 45 years, I’m part of that older generation, my grandchildren are the ‘little ones’ and everyone else fills their roles of husbands, wives, aunts and uncles, cousins, close-ones and infrequent visitors, exceptional gestures of surprise and pleasantry …
All ‘my family’ around one table, everybody eating and laughing – talking about anything and nothing at the same time, every element of it precious to that gathering; just as we remember how it was, there are two generations who remember and will remember it their way, the way it was in 2017. They will remember it tomorrow and next year, some will remember it 45 yeas from now. I’ll be 111 then. My memories will be the oldest, and the fondest.
We who gather around feasting tables, never knowing who will be there next year – it will never be exactly the same list of names but we’ll label it the same way, ‘my family’. All mine were under one roof yesterday. You can’t wrap that and put it under a tree – but it is the best gift of all.
I am filled with gratitude and amazement at the magic of this simplicity.
Happy holidays to everyone – whether your holiday was perfection or not is not as important as how you felt about where you were, who you were with and why everyone was there. Next year will be the same, and it won’t. Next year will have different players, might have a different venue but it will all measure up to the words of my granddaughter Isla, sitting mid-table in her Christmas dress – so simply saying “this is the most important day of the year”. Her perspective is that of a five-year old. Her words perfectly captured that moment, the day, captured our collective experience. Perhaps not shared ‘exactly’ by everyone, but shared by me.
To my family – I am so proud of our most important day. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else with anyone else and my heart is more full than is my amply supplied belly.
I didn’t sleep well – in part due to that parfait of food from a day of grazing and feasting – but mostly fro me replaying everything, every conversation in my mind. My daughters, my grandchildren – and the rest of the cast all played magnificent roles in the most important day of the year.
Peace, on earth – to you and yours, wherever you are.
Merry Christmas, Mark:Soak up every moment of merriment and joy with your grandbabies .. they grow all too fast and then there’s only the memories. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family, BR, Calgary, AB
Mark. Great to hear. Can't wait for the sequel/second act! Have a safe journey and a Merry Christmas. PW, Calgary, AB
Be careful… I am thinking the roads are not so great up here….and enjoy your family, as always. My turkey is in the oven…getting together with my three girls, their partners and 6 grandkids. Yikes! How life changes over time, DG, Edmonton, AB