I had a surprise this Christmas. I wasn’t sad. Not too sad at least.
I imagined the scene in my mind 50 times leading up to Christmas : how sad I would be without my extended family and friends. I imagined my tears and tried to prepare so that I wouldn’t just cry this most holy day away.
I wanted my family around the breakfast table. I wanted to watch our six little grandsons gawk at the grand Christmas tree and run around with the excitement and anticipation of Santa’s arrival.
I wished that we could all gather around in our cozy morning circle of chairs, couches, coffees,and comforters to watch each other open our stockings. I wished we could hug and laugh together as we made a big mess with the Christmas wrappings all over the newly vacuumed floor.
But somehow,by some Christmas miracle, I had the most glorious day. A wonderful day…despite Covid.
My husband cooked a beautiful, delicious breakfast for the two of us before we attended mass online (our first livestream from our own church!) . We received a Zoom call from one of our families who wanted to share the actual ‘real time’ opening of the big box of presents we sent out to their wee ones. It was SO great to watch this joyful, crazy time. Almost like we were in the room together.
Shortly afterwards we received another Zoom call from our other son and his family and the little boys wanted to share with “Nonny and Papa” their favourite gifts that they were gifted from Santa.
Then, after that wonderful call, the two of us, opened our stockings and felt the love and care that each had put into each found treasure …be it a small bag of salted mixed nuts to (for me) perhaps a pretty new pair of earrings. We also had a chance to open some incredible presents. This year Terry wanted to help me feel close to my family who couldn’t be ‘close’ in proximity so he contacted my entire creative family and asked them if he could purchase something from each of them to give to me! Everyone in my family is an artist so I was blessed to receive new paintings(from each of my parents and from 2 of my sisters) to hang up for different seasons, a wonderful ‘purse hanger’ stand(from another sister), a hand knit scarf(from my sister-in-law), and even a brand new song from my brother. These were happy tears that fell.
Next up …a full family Google Meet call from all of our children around the world and their children. It was SO great!
We have one daughter who lives in our city. She and her partner came over after our call and sat outside …while we sat inside with the kitchen screen door slightly open between us. My amazing Terry created a sort of ‘moving-blanket igloo’ (thick blankets thrown over our painting show stands)outside with a new patio heater hung low in the middle of it so that they had a fairly protected,warm space from which to visit and open gifts . It sounds weird but it actually was a fun visit and we even had a late lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and then homemade cake with strawberries and whipped cream for dessert! ( and Terry made the cake!!!)
By this point it was evening, the day had literally ‘zoomed’ by and so we decided to forgo our orginal plans for Christmas dinner (which we’ll enjoy tonight) and instead we sat together in the living room and watched our final Zoom type entertainment. Our same daughter,Emily, and her partner,Geoff, chose Emma’s twin for the Christmas name exchange. Their gift to her was an hour video of various family and close friends telling Lana how much they loved her. More happy tears. (I bet Lana was a mess when she watched it!)
And so the Christmas we had to be apart wasn’t really horrible at all . In fact, it was beautiful. We all stayed apart …yet together. We stayed safe and did our small parts to stop the spread of the pandemic. And we felt the love. We found out how much we appreciate the times we have been together and how blessed we are to have the technological resources to to ‘see’ each other this way.
God bless you. God bless all of us this year as we try to safe safe and well.