Dec 11 2012

My heart is spilling over with joy!

My heart is spilling over with joy!

The house is decorated, the tree is trimmed.  The lights on the front of the house have been hung, and then taken down and then re-hung again when 2 ft of the 30ft string had lost their Christmas spirit and went out.  We tested every bulb and when no source of the problem could be found, my husband shrugged his shoulders and accepted that there would just be a gap in the lights.

I, however, followed behind him, pleading my case that the Christmas spirit must flow freely from one end of the house to the other; that there should be no oversights when creating the ambiance and setting of the stage for the celebration that is about to ensue. I reminded him that lights would beckon our visitors and welcome them into the festive season and to our home. I reminded him that I had promised our children, the ones who are living away, that the lights were hung and would be shining bright upon their arrival.

My husband stood staring at me, “are you kidding me? They’re just lights .It’s only 2ft.  I’m not going out to string them again and freeze my blank off in the rain or snow.”

I looked out the window, “It’s not raining now…or snowing… I’m just saying.”

So …. a quick trip out to the hardware store and within a few hours, a quick switch of the switch and Christmas spirit was restored.

In one week, my daughter will be returning home from the far and frozen land.  Days later, my son will return home as well; the climate, from what I gather is significantly less cold than my daughters region.  Regardless, I have a warm house waiting for them and freshly washed bedding and comforters on their beds. I’m stocking the refrigerator with their favorite foods and meal planning for the same.

I think my son is bringing a roommate who is also from a distant land.  My son is also bringing his dog. I just have to tweak the sleeping arrangements a bit.

It’s going to be the best Christmas ever! I get all choked up when I think about it.

I have plans, big plans for the family that involves a lot of snacking and lounging around in our comfiest clothes.

My daughter will be flying in late or should I say, really early in the morning. I’ll have to nap before she gets here. I’ll be on pins and needles waiting for her flight to arrive. I just want to see her face, in the flesh, and touch her skin and wrap my arms around her.  It’s been five months since I hugged her. That’s a long time.

There’s nothing like holding your child in your arms, no matter how big they get.

I get the same way with my son. Even though he lives closer, I don’t see him as often as I would like.  When he comes home and walks in and I see him standing in front of me so handsome and strong and he leans in to kiss my cheek, I’m delirious.

And with my youngest, a sweet hug on his way out the door as he says, “Love you mamma”, warms my heart all day long.

There’s nothing like the human touch.

I can’t stop smiling.

I know the house will be filled with laughter. I know there will be knocks on the door as my children’s friends come in for a visit, at all hours.  They will be excited and giddy and gather around for a holiday drink and to talk about old times. A bustle of energy will fill the house and my husband and I will sit back in our chairs and watch the chaos unfold. There will be a mountain of shoes, spilled across the floor.

The door will knock again and we will welcome friends, some of whom we haven’t seen in a while. I’ll get teary eyed inside when I see them and we will pick the conversation back up where we left off.  We’ll talk about how our families have grown and what life has been like.  We’ll talk old times and we’ll talk about what our plans are for the coming weeks or year ahead.  I’ll thank God that I have these friends, my companions along the way.

Christmas Day will be the height of Christmas bliss. The family will gather. My sister-in-law will bring her famous dump cake, handed down from her mother.

 My husband’s mother was truly Mrs. Claus. Her house was decorated from top to bottom, complete with glowing lights, snowflake cut-outs on the window and a holiday toilet seat cover.  Her tree was filled with the animated ornaments. The different holiday scenes spun around and buzzed like the sound of ice frozen on the telephone wires after an ice storm, when the tinsel on the tree got wrapped around the rotator mechanism.  There would be carefully selected gifts wrapped with bright patterns, piled under the tree, some of which had been purchased months ahead. She paid attention when she visited and always gave a gift of practicality to her children, something she was sure they would use. I think she started taking notes and planning in July,

Two or three tables would be set to accommodate her clan and her Christmas place settings sparkled on her good white linens.

There would be platters of baked goods and pre-dinner snacks and chocolates, loads of chocolates. She made the most delicious caramel filled chocolates.

She would prepare as much of her meal early, so that she had time to sit and visit.


This Christmas, the family will gather again to create a new Christmas memory. The memories made from this Christmas, we will reminisce about next year.   Some things will be exactly the same as every other year.

For instance, my father in law will deliver his standard Christmas greeting. “Bah Humbug” with each person who enters the room.  Then he’ll pick the best seat in the house to observe the chaos and at some point get a tear in his eye that he will surely deny.

He will have grown his Christmas beard, as white as Mr. Claus himself and will be sporting a fine hat. Although his hat will not be red and fur rimmed but will be similar to the one that the driver wore in Driving Miss Daisy.

The family will gather.  We will all be together.   We will be happy to be together and at some point ,we will think of the ones that are no longer here. We will miss them and it will still ache.

But, we will recall the wonderful memories we had with them when they were here and we will remember the way that they smiled and laughed. We’ll tell stories that start with “Remember when. “ We’ll tell the same ones we’ve told at every family gathering, over and over again.   Then we’ll laugh until we cry, holding our stomachs and the spasms of joy in our cheek muscles.


  I think all of us, wherever we are, whomever we’re with, will have moments when we’ll think of our loved ones that we wish were here.

When I do, I’ll remind myself that they are still here, in my thoughts and in my heart. They are here, every time they come to mind.  They are here every time I hear that special song that reminds me of them.   They are here every time I utter their name.

I will remind myself that life continues, is never-ending and just because I can’t see them in this physical plain doesn’t mean they are any less alive. I may not see them but I will feel them when the snow falls and hushes everything into silence. I will feel them when I hear Bing singing “White Christmas”. I will feel them when I am pulled into the twinkling lights of the tree. I will feel them when my own animated ornament begins to buzz from the tinsel that wrapped around the rotator mechanism. I will feel them when I take my first bite of the dump cake.  I will feel them when the laughter spills over in the room, the laughter they so enjoyed.  I will feel them in a multitude of ways. I will know they are with me. I’ll just feel it.

They aren’t really gone. They are closer than we might think. They are only a thought away, the tiniest breath away.

My family is coming together for Christmas. I am grateful for each and every one of them.  Whether or not, they are here, under my roof, standing in front of me, they will be with me. Time apart, nor distance, no matter if on earthly or heavenly plain, will make any difference to me. There is no separation.

My heart is spilling over with joy.

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1 comment

  1. Karen

    WOW, that was absolutely beautiful Connie!! You actually managed to bring tears to my eyes once again!
    PS: I’m making a dump cake???

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