All of the kids are here. They are excitedly chattering away with each other as Nick lays in bed sleeping and I am about to join him soon.
Nick and I have wrapped all the gifts and put them under the tree. We are doing Christmas tomorrow morning since Darcy is heading back to North Carolina before the actual day.
Nick's mother is coming over and we are going to have Christmas lunch here with her. We are having tacos and burritos. Not very seasonal I guess, but something we all like.
Here's what I wrote on Facebook a few minutes ago:
the difference between having five kids still living at home, and five
adult kids (siblings) getting together for the first time in over a
year? When they all were living here they were really loud. Mainly
because one looked at the other the wrong way, or sat too close or
something like that. Now, they are so excited to see each other that
they are loud because they are all excited to be together and are all
talking at the same time!
It's 54 degrees outside and it is almost Christmas. We have had Christmas north of the Arctic Circle, where it was dark and snowy, we have had Christmas south of the equator where it was sunny and hot and we went to the beach. We've had Christmas all over the world with no kids at first, then more and more kids. When we got to five kids, they only stayed home for a short while, then they have slowly drifted off to make their own lives.
We have never spent a Christmas with no kids since we became parents, and I hope we never do. But I guess anything can happen.
I have been excitedly anticipating what it would be like to have all of my adult children home at the same time. And I have been worrying about it. I never really had a home to go back to once we were married. My mom had a place and my dad had a place. But neither of them felt like "home". Nick had a home, where he grew up. His parent's house, which was my home too in many ways.
So, I wonder if it is hard to walk through your childhood door and not feel like a child again. I want so much not to make my kids feel like they are "kids" in the sense of me being their authoritative mother/ parent person. I am not sure what the words are that i am looking for here. I don't want to say anything that makes anyone feel like I am talking down to them. I don't want the kids hear me in a way that makes them feel in any way diminished. I am so happy to have them around. I am so full of awe at the wonderful people they are and are becoming. I love them and am in love with them. I know that a thoughtless word from me, their mother, can hurt in a way nobody else's word can.
So I ask questions. I learn. I soak it all in. The presence of my babies (there I said it), all grown into these adults that I am happy to know.
Chance drove up from Richmond yesterday, arriving in the afternoon. Morgan arrived a little bit after 7:00 pm. Courtney arrived this afternoon. Darcy is driving up from North Carolina tomorrow. Austin had some time off from work, so he can be with everyone.
Courtney is in her old bedroom. Morgan is in Chance's old bedroom and Chance is in Morgan's. Austin is in his room, and Darcy will be in his old room. It must feel strange and familiar to them all.
It is all so different than when they were an everyday, all day part of my life, and Nick's. So much drama has taken place in this house. And much joy and laughter and all around silliness.
For the past few years, maybe longer, there has been the annual fuss over "ugly Christmas sweaters". I actually like sweaters that are decorated for the holidays. I guess it's the same as the fuss over so called obnoxious and generic Christmas letters. I often keep these letters as a way of keeping track of far flung family and friends.
I knew that somewhere I had a picture of myself in a Christmas sweater, so the search was on. I have so many thousands of pictures, it was hard to know where to look. My digital photos are arranged pretty much by date or topic "Sherwood kid's pictures" for example. But when you cannot remember what year a picture was taken, the search gets tough. After looking through all of my picture folders that should logically hold Christmas pictures, I all but gave up. Then I decided to search through Picasa. This is a program that I do not really understand, and seldom use. But I know that it categorizes pictures through facial recognition- somehow. I looked and looked, and there I was. Christmas 2002, in my sister's living room in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Wearing that sweater! I thought it was a pretty sweater!
I don't know if I should be worried or panicking or what. I am not really either of those things. I have a lot on my mind though.
It looks like all five kids will be home. I hope. Four of them for sure. Darcy, I hope, but am not sure. Nick bought a gift for Hannah when he was in Afghanistan, so I hope that they come.
We are having the Extended Family Christmas party/ dinner on Sunday. I need to buy a few things for the party, and am hoping that Carol's maids will come here on Saturday. If not, Nick and I will clean.
I have written a rough draft of our Christmas letter. The cards are here. I need to write and print the letters, address the envelopes and mail them. So far this year we have received two cards. Not enough to make a decorative card display, but that's why I save old cards from previous years.
I think about writing, but then don't. I have so many stories of events in my life that I need to write down. When I am telling people about various events in my life, they always say "you should write a book". Does that mean my life is interesting, or is that just a polite way of saying to me to stop talking?
I always thought I would start to really write after my mother died. There were just too many things I thought I would want to say about her that I wouldn't want her to read. But now she's gone and I am not sure exactly what I thought was so important and private. Oh well.
The last few nights I have actually gone to sleep without much trouble and have woken up feeling human! Yesterday, after my workout at the gym, I felt great! Really energized. All too often I walk in there feeling too tired to do much and just as tired when I leave. Being rested makes life so much better!