1) This morning the house felt chaotic, with stimuli coming from every direction: an internet flirtation (!), alarming news via email from a friend, Oldest Nephew Who Must Not Be Tagged coming to put up the Christmas tree and talking with Mother about the Big Social Issues, Mother proposing alternate recipes for Christmas supper since Niece Who Must Not Be Tagged was still asleep and hadn’t gone shopping for the One Remaining Ingredient, and on and on.
2) But eventually, and after many questions from Mother along the lines of “Are you sure this is right?” and “Even though we didn’t do it that way last year?”, I got the tree decorated! This is the year Mother wants us to take home the ornaments we feel are “ours,” and it occurs to me (hours later) that there are some that are missing. But I am very happy with the overall results.’
3) For awhille I suppressed a silent panic that my beloved Japanese paper angel musicians had disappeared, as they weren’t in any of the boxes. But as soon as I mentioned this (quite calmly) to Mother, she retrieved them from their hiding place. Bliss! I love my little Japanese paper angel musicians. Originally there were six, but now they are just a quartet.
3a) When you were little, did you play with the Christmas tree ornaments, and did all the ones that were people and/or animals talk to each other and interact? Ours certainly did, and that’s why I continue to hang them on the bottom branches.
4) Oldest Nephew Who Must Not Be Tagged had Christmas Eve plans with his own church community, and while Niece Who Must Not Be Tagged said she would go with us to the 5:30 Christmas Eve service, she was sound asleep at quarter to five, and I didn’t have the heart to wake her. So Mother, looking splendid in her red jacket, and I in my daddy’s green ultrasuede blazer, drove off to First Methodist and arrived a good 20 minutes or so early (a novel experience for Mother!) - and a good thing, too, or we might not have gotten seats near the front.
5) Not unusually, the church was packed, which is why there are three services on Christmas Eve. Just before the service started, Mother turned to me and said “This is my family.” First Methodist has been Mother’s bedrock since she married there in 1955, and I know how she feels. Where on earth would I be without the community of friends I found myself in almost 30 years ago?! They are my bedrock.
6) Leaving afterward, Mother asked to drive by the front of the church to see the large lighted cross. So I kept going down Broad Street to Lakeshore Drive, turned left, and passed the extravaganza of Christmas lights at the civic center and Bord du Lac Park! I thought we might keep going down Shell Beach Drive to look at the Christmas lights (for out-of-towners, Shell Beach Drive is the street of large old important houses in Lake Charles, right on the lake), but the traffic was so very much at a standstill that I turned off and we headed home through town.
7) Niece said she had awakened only ten minutes before we got there, but she served us some of her good ham chowder for dinner.
8) The rest of the evening continued with the wrapping of remaining gifts, laundry, political commentary (yes, I am to blame), dishwashing, and other preparations for tomorrow. Niece is being collected at 8 AM, and Mother and I will have until 4ish to celebrate Christmas on our own before the arrival of Laura’s family.
9) All of us are dead beat and looking forward to a good night’s sleep.