There are still two more Christmas get-togethers for me – and and I don’t usually get together until January. I like to stretch this out as long as possible (plus, I almost never have gifts ready for them by Christmas, so it’s nice to have the extra weeks).
Our trip to Illinois was good. Short, but good. I cannot properly explain in words the perfection of Christmas Eve, and I don’t even have pictures, but my heart is full of images and memories. Perhaps it helped that I was sure that things were going to pretty much suck this year. Last year, on Christmas day, Grandpa died, after being removed from life support several days earlier. Christmas Eve dinner is always at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and things just wouldn’t be the same without him (and his Christmas sweater) there. And true, his recliner sat empty, and there were some conversational lulls because we were missing some of the links that connect us to each other. But Grandma was so happy when we arrived, full of hugs and smiles. This was the first time (in my memory, at least) that she said grace before the meal, and she was overflowing with love and thanks to God for her many blessings. It’s hard to be sad in the presence of so much joy.
On our way home, we took the long way so I could see some sights. I had the strangest feeling that it would be the last time (for a long time) that I’d get to pause and take a moment in St Charles. drove by the house I spent most of my childhood in – it’s still there, and nothing much seems to have changed on the outside. Then we drove down main street to see the lights. Perhaps it was something special only for those of us who have seen it all our lives, but it was beautiful. All the light poles have trees on top of them with multi-colored lights, and at the big parks the trees are all strung with white lights. I found a few pictures for you on Flickr: bridge over the Fox River, and this short (34 second) video of photos.
It was, as much as possible, a perfect evening.
We also spent some time shopping, with family, tons of time eating, and talking. We found out that Grandpa had owned some very random properties that are now owned by – one in New Mexico (total desert, absolutely nothing around at all, and the streets have been marked out in the subdivision but nothing was ever done with it) and one in Missouri (wooded area, dirt road, but at least there’s a house across the street). No one is quite sure why he owned them, but it was fun to find them on the internet ( did that part) and look at satellite views. A reminder that there’s always more to know about someone. Gifts were exchanged, cookies were eaten, puppies were pet.
While we were slowed down by some snow on the way down, the weather on the way back was beautiful. Sunny and clear skies – it reached 50* here yesterday! I almost had to complain about the sun, it was so bright! This is the first time, in my 10 years living in Minnesota, that there is not snow on the ground at Christmas. This time last year we’d had snow for over a month, and it didn’t all melt away until the end of April. It seems a bit strange, but I’ll take it. The wind was quite biting this morning, and as I waited for the bus I was regretting my choice to wear a skirt.
This should be a fairly slow, normal week. School is out, so I’m at work every day. Classes at Metro don’t start up until January, so no homework. Christmas with the other side of my family is Thursday, and there are gifts to wrap for that, but nothing else needs to be done. I’d like to sew. I’ve got about half an hour of knitting left on ‘s scarf, and then I can go back to focusing on a mustard yellow knitting project I started two weeks ago. Hopefully I can make it over to get a massage, as my right shoulder is hard as a rock.
Life is good.