All the stateside children came home for a week. (If you can call married or bachelor children, adults.) And the grandchildren. 16 of us, all in this little old house. Such cooking, and eating, and playing of games, running and yelling, discussions and argument (redundant?), baby care and naps, scoldings and interruptions, laughter and two-year-old hamming it up, you ever did see!
We read books to the littles every day. At some point one of the adults bought "crans" (Crayola) and the printer went to work printing pages of pictures for them to color. I found the colors in a desk drawer this morning, left behind for next time, I guess.
We finally found a minute to open the look alike gifts with the children. Such a party that was.
So Christmas and New Year’s Day are over. Thud! Why does it have to feel so bad to have them all leave? I wouldn’t want them all here all the time. My brain isn’t big enough for that at all. We had happy times. Except that Elv was sick the whole time. The children are getting big enough to expect certain things of Marmee and Grandpa and our house. I guess I like tradition, too. So we had pie and smoked turkey. And hot chocolate for whenever. And read stories to children by the hour. And took pictures of them doing everything. And the guys played a LOT of chess and the new Catan game a couple of times. We sledded once, and had a couple of evenings at Lance’s. Someone dug out the VHS player from the depths and the children watched Milo and Otis one evening. Gwen hated it and couldn’t walk away all the same. Poor kid. That’s me all over again.
Brad, Gabe and Clark took an afternoon to build shelf/rod hangers for the dining room. They’re beautiful. I need to varnish them and collect three wall words: Grace, Mercy, and Peace to sit on the shelves, one each. And we sewed the curtains and hung them. It’s very cottage-y looking. Is that a word? -excerpt from a letter to my sisters and Susan.
Elv said this morning, "I'm ready to get back to normal life again." Amy mentioned that in her blog post, as well. Oh alright, if you all insist. But I liked it so much. I hope to do it all again, next Christmas. Two things that I promise we won't forget next year: to sing together one evening and to go sledding or skating, at least once.
I posted this on family FB this AM: Friday morning the 2nd of January. The last of our Nebraska family left for home this morning. The stonehouse is very quiet. Only the hum of the fan behind the stove and my music low. Tentative sunlight coming through the old windows makes squares of light on the wall behind the stove. The stove creaks encouragingly but barely holds back the persistent chill creeping in. -10 degrees outside. Elv hopes to return to "normal" life. Amy is off to work. Brad is sleeping in, evidently. I am going to keep busy so that I don't die of the terrible missing of our children and grandchildren who have just left. Which is just silly because they'll all be back in less than three weeks. Oh well, I love our small family, our small house, and our life here in the north woods. Now I'm gonna go get a cup of freshly brewed coffee and pour some of that half and half in there that Jenny ordered and never opened. Thanks Jenny. Oh, and yes I will find "tracks" all the rest of the week of our wonderful Christmas and New Years time with all of the family. This is messed up; but I love/hate the poignancy of memories.