The day was slow and easy. Events unfolded gradually and nothing was forced. We all went with the flow. I cooked breakfast for me and the girls, while JB went the half mile up the road to spend Christmas morning with his mother.
I've been trying to blend this family for years. I've come to the realization that I watch too many good movies and life is no movie. Everyone does not always smile and behave graciously. You get what you get and just find a way to deal with it.
My goal this holiday season was two-fold: first, I was determined to maintain sanity at all costs and second, I wanted everyone (myself included) to do what genuinely made them happy and be done with all the obligatory stuff.
After breakfast, the girls opened one gift.
We managed to locate Jen's luggage at an airport 30 miles away, so she and the city-girl daughter set out to retreive it. Jen went in her flannel pajamas as a protest to the inconvenience.
I cooked. I enjoyed the quiet. All the gifts were still wrapped under the tree as I chopped and stirred in the kitchen.
An hour or two later, the girls returned. JB returned. Momo and Pop arrived.
Momo helped with dinner.
She made stuffing just like my Granny used to make!Lots of food. Lots of family. But the best part is that no one was squawking about opening gifts.
In fact, after dinner, it was me who suggested we open the gifts!
I can't ever remember--not in my entire life--a time when gifts were opened after 5:00 pm on Christmas Day! I went to bed that night convinced that family and relationships had won over materialism.
But today--four days later-- the result of holiday gatherings with family has taken it's toll.
The youngest has had enough of us all and has chosen to spend the last 24 hours of her east coast visit in a hotel that offers shuttle service to the airport.
She broke the news to me very matter-of-fact early this morning (after having had words with her sister last night). She packed her bags and I watched through the kitchen window as she walked up the driveway pulling her suitcase behind her.
I sighed the big heavy sigh that mother's sigh after too much. You just hate it, but there's not a damn thing you can do about it. You wrack your brain for a way to fix it and make everything right in the world again. There are no easy answers, no remedies, so ultimately you just suck it up.
I sucked it up and offered her a ride to the hotel. I couldn't very well let her pull that huge oversized suitcase 30 miles, now could I?