Last night Grace and I were cuddled up in bed and she asked me to sing her a song we used to sing to her as a baby. She was a fussy babe and this particular song, which I changed to include her name, always calmed her down and lulled her to sleep. I sang the song and then started telling her about silly things she did as a baby and how basically little miss Gracie made all of us better. She smiled big and fell asleep curled up in my arms.
For the last two days Delaney, who didn't have any money for gifts this year, has been baking and making. She has made cakes, and cookies, and brownies, and other goodies and packaged them up prettily with each of our names on them. She's stressed her self out about getting them all done in time. She's panicked when her cookies were just a little more brown than they should have been. She's slapped the hand of anyone who tried to snack on some cookie dough. She wants everything absolutely perfect for her little gifts.
The other night Bri and Micheal, Chelsea and Delaney, Eric and Fraser, Grace and myself all sat around a table for a "quick game of Uno." Mini tantrums were thrown, hysterical laughter was heard, piles of cards were made for hands too small to hold them all (I may or may not be including myself in that.). Teams were established to gang up on certain people, loyalties were switched. Coffee was consumed, and groans of "when will this game be over!" were heard. And everyone left with a big smile on their face.
On Wednesday I met up with Bri and Micheal, Sarah and her boyfriend Cody, Charissa, Jessica, and Chelsea and we had our annual gift exchange. We ate delicious foods, and talked and talked and talked and talked.... We laughed to the point of tears, and gave gifts filled with love. We welcomed the newest member of our little group and marveled at how perfectly we all fit together. I came home and told my mom and dad about our night and silly things we said and did. My mom said, "you guys are so lucky. Not many people have what you all have, nor for as long as you guys have had it." She was right. Despite differences, distance, and years we've all stuck together and can come back and pick up just where we left off. We are incredibly lucky.
Inappropriate conversations that make teenage boys blush, late night movie watching, froyo and gift exchanges, laughing 'til you can't breathe, lots of music, pretty lights, whirring of a sewing machine, pretty packages, not so pretty packages you're glad are just wrapped, sick puppy curled by the fire, new evil tortoise plotting in it's tank, 800 trips to Joanns, new pretty jammies.
I started out this year full of hope for new adventures and awaiting new blessings. But sometimes the blessings that really matter, are the ones you've always had.
I wish you all the Merriest of Christmases, filled with love and joy and laughter and peppermint or three.