Other than the sounds of the washer and dryer chugging their way through a mountain of bedding and towels, our house is a great deal quieter and seems much larger than it did yesterday! With the departure of our children and grandchildren, we’ve gone from twelve people back to three.
There was a time when I harboured unrealistic expectations for Christmas time imagining carols quietly playing while angelic children and happy adults enjoyed one another’s company without a hint of discord. Meals would be perfectly turned out and everyone would gather around the table looking like we belonged in a Norman Rockwell painting.
Expectations like that are #1 on The Big Sheep Blog’s list of the Top 10 Ways to Inflict Holiday Torture Upon Yourself! This year, I decided ahead of time that I didn’t need the stress of unrealized fantasies. Instead, I chose to toss them out the window and go with the flow. Thank goodness I did!
One family arrived with nasty colds and another brought stomach flu. Over the past week, the two ailments were passed around with only Richard and I failing to succumb to either one! We’re chalking that up to our many years in the classroom where we were exposed to every bug that came along. In addition to the coughing, sneezing and vomiting that surrounded us, one of the wee ones spiked a high fever and she also required a late Christmas night trip to ER for a nose that wouldn’t stop bleeding!
It isn’t easy being sick away from home and it’s even more difficult with young children. Add to that the dynamics created by families with very different parenting styles and philosophies and the crowded house held even more potential for dissension. It was noisy, it was chaotic, it was messy and at times, nerves were frayed, but it was also wonderful to have all my chicks under one roof.
Games have always been part of our family get-togethers and even the youngest members got in on the action.
Even when the temperature plunged to -25ºC (-13ºF), the children, who ranged in age from two to five, were happy to play outdoors. Snow was shoveled
and quinzees built.
The playground was visited.
And when it was too cold or tummies were too tender, stories were read.
It might not have been a Norman Rockwell painting and it wasn’t perfect but it was Christmas, we were together and I am thankful.