Sunday, December 18, 2011 will go down as one of my most favorite Christmassy days ever! We are at my bonus daughter Kristi’s home for the holidays and it’s a bustle with expectant excitement in its purest form; children. As grandparents, we’ve missed this part of the season since the days our children were young. For two decades we’ve only been able to share Christmas day celebrations. There is so much more to this season than December 25. Parents of young children please don’t miss this precious week BEFORE the day of.
On Sunday morning Terry and I woke to the smell of bacon frying. Ted (my bonus son-in-law) does a ritual, Sunday morning breakfast which includes pancakes, hash brown potatoes, fresh farm eggs and the best hot coffee around. I laid in bed letting my nose sell the rest of my body on the prospect of getting out from under the cozy covers so I could take part in the breakfast celebration. My ears joined into the nudging by focusing in on the laughter and camaraderie of our grandchildren, Tanner 13, Kyle 11 and Kaytee 9.
The morning also held a massive dose of gratitude on each of our hearts. Just two days earlier, Kristi’s living room had been crowded with eight paramedics as an ambulance waited in the drive-way to rush an incoherent Tanner to the hospital. That morning he had fainted at school and Kristi brought him home, concerned he was coming down with a bug.
When he awoke from a nap and was unable to tell Terry who the quarter back for the Patriots was (even though Tanner is a devoted fan of the team) our apprehension thickened. An hour later he was at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
Terry and I were thankful we were able to be there for Kyle and Kaytee when they got off the school bus at 3:15. The children were consumed with concern for their older brother when we relayed the alarming information in the most alarmless way we could muster. That afternoon, we all went through the motions of ordinary life waiting for updates like a mother in labor waiting for her next contraction. The afternoon dawdled into evening when we were given the best news, no tumor, no meningitis and no stroke.
At 11:00 PM Tanner had been inspected inside and out and had regained his speech and cognitive abilities and was released from the hospital. The final opinion was that he suffered a complex migraine headache probably brought on by hormone changes of early adolescence. Whew!
Back to the magic of December 18. Ted and Kristi’s gift to us was a trip into Boston to attend the Holiday Music of the Boston Pops. I’d always wanted to go to Concert Hall and it was truly a dream come true. We got all dressed up as if we were prepping for a family portrait. The boys looked like clones of Justin Bieber and Katie sparkled from her blingy boots to the sparkles in her long French braided hair.
The last encore song the orchestra played was I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas. When I heard the line, “just like the ones I used to know,” tears filled my eyes remembering the happy Christmases my mom and dad created for my sister and me. What a gift we can give our children by being what this season is all about. It’s about love and joy. I’m so grateful once a year our society makes a big deal about love and joy. “May all your Christmases be light.”