Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Highlights.....

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
~Author Unknown, attributed to a boy named Bobby, 7 years old~
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?

Miss Sandy


Lori said...

Miss Sandy, your Christmas sounds like it was wonderful!!!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Miss Sandy, you describe it so well. I gloss over these descriptions and do not go into the rich detail and therefore lose the true experience. I need to take a cue. When the grands are small, we do realize that every moment is precious having already raised a family so quickly grown. I find myself saying things to my son that my parents said to me like savor each's all going to be over too soon.

Your time with your father sounded so precious. I know that you are going to have many tender moments reading that book and if he will discuss some things with you that he has written...well, could it get any better?

What lovely treasures you received in the mail, too, in such an unorthodox way.

Oh my! It does sound serious between your dd and her bf.

Your ornaments look so pretty...I enjoyed them sprinkled throughout your post.

Becky K. said...

I am so glad you and your father had that wonderful experience to share and that he has entrusted you with the family story and legacy. Lovely!

Sounds like maybe you got your ability to express yourself in words from him...

Happy New Year!

Barbara H. said...

Oh Sandy, I almost cried at that present from your father. What a special treasure, what wonderful memory!

We do miss little ones around here for Christmas, but someday we hope to have some gorgeous grandkids about. :-)

Ele at abitofpinkheaven said...

It sounds like you had a beautiful Christmas. What a special gift from your father. Blessings for a Happy New Year.

The Feathered Nest said...

I know that feeling you're speaking of Sandy...that feeling where you say to yourself, "remember this goodness" it will be gone in the blink of an eye ~ What a precious gift from your father, I know you will savor each and every page of information. What a wonderful moment it must have been when you realized what it was and he knew you knew! Well, we're on the cusp of a new year of creating sweet friend and I'm so excited about it!!! Wishing you a wonderful week sweet friend, xxoo, Dawn

kathy said...

Sandy - oh I am so glad you received it -- It makes me smile to hear the story of the UPS - the brown guy - usually -lol --
Your story brought tears to my eyes -- I understand about those family dynamics ,having been in the same sort of situation with my parents - both gone now --
It makes me realize -- I must put things I know on Paper with pictures -for a Heritage book -- so all family History will not be lost - Of course on Hbs side both
are gone also -- BUt they were people of Faith - a great heritage -of love and laughter -- that Hub and I modeled our family after -- Many stories and fun have been told , but that too needs to be done - for all three of my grown children. So a challenge for the New Year - Thank you sweet Sandy -- for the sharing of the story - the sharing of your heart for those sweet remembrances ,will warm your Heart ♥ for many many years -
Happy New Year dear friend -
Kathy - ga

Elizabeth G. said...

Miss Sandy,

I am so happy for you that you received the best gift that you father could ever give you...his memories and your family history. I would treasure that above anything else. I am so happy for you. Happy, too, that some of the reserve is melting away between you and your father. Sometimes we are loved in a different language than how we would want it expressed, do you know what I mean? After many years, when there is a new is such a blessing!

When you have time, come over a read about a beautiful miracle that happened to me last night.

God bless you,

Susie said...

Sandy I enjoyed reading about your Christmas holiday much. It all sounds so lovely. I'm so glad you and your dad are working on your relationship. His gift to you is priceless. I'm sure you will cherish it much. Happy New Year to you Sandy!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Tears are just streaming down my face. What a priceless gift your dad gave to you.

The Joy of Nesting said...


I'm so very glad that your family made wonderful memories. When I was a fledgling RN a very wise old man aked me if I knew what the only thing one takes with them when they pass away. I politely replied no. "well youngin it's your memories. We enter the world with only a clean slate. We leave the world with only the memories we made. And Missy let me tell you it's your blessed memories that make you a rich man!!"

My wish for you is a blessed 2009 making wonderful memories!!
Pattie ;)
Mazatlan Mexico

Ragamuffin Gal said...

I think this is the most beautiful Christmas post I have read this year! What a Christmas to remember! You are blessed gal ~ and Thanks for blessing us with your wonderful heart~felt words. Many wonderful wishes for a fabulous New Year! Love, Katie

KathyB. said...

Oh, what a wonderful and blessed Christmas. I remember those last few Christmases all my children were still living at home, and I remember thinking the same things you have expressed. I did take time to pause and reflect on the blessings of those times, but still miss them. It is also a hearts' ease to see my grown children and their families celebrating Christmas for Christ and in a spirit of thankfulness for their own families! Happy New Year to you and yours.

Jan and Tom said...

What precious memories of this special Christmas present from your dad!! That's TERRIFIC!! Not to say that any of the other memories you now have of this past Christmas weren't important...but I can certainly understand how much the gift from your father meant to you!

My dad passed away almost 14 years ago.

~New Year Blessings,

Pinkie Denise said...

Happy New Year Miss Sandy,
Thank you for sharing your blessings with me! Love to you Pinkie

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