I love my family.
I really, really do.
Christmas Eve reminded me why.
The day started with church with Dad and Joyce. We get there about an hour and a half before mass because it’s the only way to make sure we get a seat. Once it hits an hour before mass, it’s standing room only.
This is usually a great time for the three of us to catch up. I haven’t seen my Dad since before I moved – so about six months. I had my iPhone and my camera, so between the two, I was able to visually catch him up to speed on the life and times of JB in Erie.
Mass was accompanied by the children’s choir, cherub’s choir, and a “dramatic reenactment of the Gospel”. It was adorable.
After mass, we headed over to Aunt Pat’s house to celebrate the holiday. It’s funny – I remember visiting my Aunt’s house when I was younger, and being in awe of it’s size and fancy feeling. I always thought it was like a house in the movies. I moved around to different apartments and houses when my parents divorced, thus making my Aunt’s house a constant. It offered me comfort and fantasy. When I would visit her house, she would always send me home with a goodie bag. I thought it was amazing that she had goodie bags in her house. She was definitely the coolest Aunt.
I love the feeling I get when I pull into her driveway. It’s on a steep hill, making it look more majestic. I have never walked into the front door or the garage. I always walk in the patio door. It’s like a secret entrance around the side of the house, off the flagstone patio with large canopy trees and lights, making it feel like a Disney movie.
Stacey and Aunt Pat were in the kitchen, Bob and Sean were doing something important, I’m sure, and Zack was counting presents. I have to say – dinner was completely flawless. My job is always the rolls. When I was younger it used to be the premade rolls that you baked just to get them warm. I am now old enough to assemble crescent rolls. Thanks for the help this year, Stace :)
Dinner was awesome. I love that it’s the same every year – Filet Mingon, crab cakes, mashed potatoes, corn, sweet potato casserole, rolls, and peas for Zack.
After dinner, it was finally time for presents. The youngest child plays Santa and hands out the gifts. Well, up until six years ago, I was Santa. Now Zack is slowly taking over Santa duties. I asked him this year if he wanted to be Santa by himself this year and he said no. He needed me to help because he can’t read cursive. Leave it to Aunt Pat to write all of her gift tags in cursive.
We all opened presents, laughed at Dad’s puzzle gift for Stacey, saved the tree from toppling over, and then gathered back in the dining room for dessert and conversation. Nothing says Christmas Eve like critiquing 9/11 and Mennonite farmers.
This was the first Christmas Eve in 19 years that I came home after Aunt Pat’s. I usually go home with my Dad and wake up Christmas morning to celebrate with him, then drive back down to Maryland to be with my Mom. Since I didn’t have a car this year, Dad and I agreed that we could discontinue the tradition. My dad was sad with this decision. When I celebrate with him later this week, he asked that I wear my pajamas and walk down the stairs and pretend it’s Christmas morning.
So Christmas Eve 2010 was everything I hoped it would be – a time to reconnect and a reminder for me to stay grounded.