"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."We wrapped up the last of our holiday celebrations on Friday night after three full days of entertaining here at Quill Cottage, beginning on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is always reserved for spending time with my dad and this year marks one of the most special times.
My dad is kind of a quite man who never reflects on or speaks of the past. I have very little knowledge of family history on his side of the family and he is the last in the line for our family name. He is also one of the few surviving scattered relatives on that side of the family. It is my understanding that his childhood was not a happy one and past memories are painful. When asked anything he gets very vague. About four years ago I gave him a book entitled, "A Father's Legacy". It asks questions and has space for writing in answers. I had little hope that he would ever write in it or that it would ever be returned to me. I was wrong.Sitting around the living room on Christmas Eve after a hearty holiday meal we could not wait to let Gorgeous Grandson begin opening his gifts. Being two is the most wonderful thing in the world and one of my holiday highlights is seeing Christmas through the wonder of a child's eyes. His newest expression is to drop open his mouth and draw in an audible gasp, look up, grin, then clap and declare, "Yeah! All Wight!" You have never seen so much delight and joy in the simplest of things like stickers and play dough. He was delighted to just see the pictures of what the box contained even more than the gifts themselves. Words cannot express the joy one tiny boy brought to our holiday this year.
In the middle of our celebration we noticed a U-Haul truck pulling up into our driveway. Behind the wheel was a guy in a Santa hat. We are all wondering if we have been so nice that we hit the mother load and Santa is now making deliveries too large for his sleigh or could we be the most naughty on the list and Santa had arrived to haul it all away! It was neither. Evidently the UPS people had so many deliveries that they had to rent a fleet of U-Haul trucks to run two shifts in order to get everything delivered. The delivery was for me and it was certainly another holiday highlight. I received a wonderful package from a sweet blog friend, Kathy of Country Chintz, that was packed full of holiday cheer!
Just look at all the wonderful goodies that were inside. A precious little elf stocking filled to the brim with Christmas crafting goodies!Gingerbread Man goodies!And a sweet Christmas card that is also a magnet!Thank you so very much dear Kathy for not only visiting me here at Quill Cottage but for your amazing strength and faith which is such and encouragement to me. Many blessings in the New Year to you and your family!After the delivery we settled back down for the rest of our gift exchange. I came to the gift from my dad. I noticed he was pretty intent in training the video camera on me, which I thought was a bit odd considering Gorgeous Grandson was up to some pretty cute antics. I lifted the lid of the box to find a beautiful pale green silk scarf, a pair of earrings, and a favorite brand of body butter. Beneath all this lay a book, face down, in the bottom of the box. I was a little puzzled as the book had a masculine look to it. I picked it up and turned it over and I think my face must have registered shock and surprise. I looked up at my dad and he was in tears and I was in tears. The distance between us melted in that moment. Not just the physical distance as we embraced in a hug, but the emotional distance at his being willing to share our family history with me.
My parents divorced when I was very young and oddly enough, I have never been close to either one of my parents. They are both reserved and a bit distant. It is only in the last few years that my dad and I have been able to begin building a closer bond. I knew this gift cost him much and was a four year labor of love and he did this for me. This is a holiday highlight I will always remember. I have only allowed myself a few sneak peeks at the pages and found out a few fascinating facts that I never knew before. I will sit down with this treasured volume when all is quite here at the Quill and savor it. It was meant for me and me alone. He did not even allow my step-mother to read it because he wanted me to be the first. This action communicates to me more loudly than words ever could. He has entrusted me with his memories and they will never be forgotten.Christmas morning dawned with darling daughter antsy to get up and open gifts. She is my child of wonder and anticipation. Even at 20 she has never lost that anticipation for surprises and still can't sleep on Christmas Eve for the excitement. Handy Hubby and I decided to put her out of her misery around 6:00 AM since we had heard her rattling around since 4:00 AM! We opened our hearts first with Christmas morning prayers and Scripture reading and then the gift exchange. She was delighted with her gifts and we were delighted with her.
Sitting by the fireside I felt a fast close to the days of waking up with her here on Christmas morning. She wanted to linger for our sakes but a new twinkle is in her eye and The Young Man Who Comes To Call On Her would be arriving soon so she rushed off to ready herself for his arrival. We spent a short pleasant time with them both until they needed to get on the road for a long drive to his parents house. His family wanted her to come visit for Christmas so they changed their plans so she could be home with us in the morning and they would have their family Christmas in the afternoon. YIKES, this sounds like it is getting serious!Handy Hubby and I spent a quite afternoon resting, relaxing, watching hokey Christmas movies, and napping. We had a quite dinner for two and geared up for one last highlight, Friday evenings gathering. Darling Daughter arrived home from work just as Number One Son, Daughter-In-Love, and Gorgeous Grandson returned to have an evening of just our little family. We shared a meal and watched a movie. The special highlight being surrounded by love and encircled by family.
As I sat with a tiny boy cuddled in my lap and my son at my side, the girls across on the love seat and Handy Hubby in his favorite fireside chair I sensed the swift passing of time. I gathered in the sigths and sounds imprinting them onto my heart and into my memory. I knew for certain that this moment in time was a cherished gift. I had a strong sense that the memory I was making in the present would be one I would treasure in the future as I looked back upon my past of wonderful holiday highlights.
What were your special holiday highlights?