Sunday, December 28, 2014

Just Us and the Elk

Plotting and planning this Christmas was a little more involved for my family because,while we had all the normal gift buying and decorating, we also were sort of looking at the calendar and wincing because it was the first without my mom. Most people I know fall into one or the other camp: either you do Christmas up big or you don't. It should clue you in that my mom was the type of person who started getting panicky if she didn't have all her presents bought by July and wrapped by Halloween.
 When I was a kid, my mom was president of the Altar Society at our church, which is like the ladies' version of the Knights of Columbus which is like the Catholic version of the Shriners, without the tiny clown cars. Or maybe they have clown cars in some cases, it could happen. At any rate, so my mom was president of the Altar Society and she decided that as her big project, she would "adopt" a nursing home and give all the residents of the nursing home gifts so they wouldn't feel neglected or forgotten on Christmas. Which was a sweet idea, right? Except my mom couldn't pick and choose WHICH nursing home would benefit of the three that were somewhat close to the church, so she ended up adopting ALL of them. She would spend months buying things on sale like handkerchiefs or socks or sweet smelling handsoap and lotions, coffee cups, slippers--just little things, but like, HUNDREDS of them, to the point our living room, then dining room would just be filled. I know there were hundreds of them because guess who had to wrap them all? That's right, my sisters. (I am shit at wrapping, I was in charge of taking off price tags). And then we'd deliver these hundreds of presents to these nursing homes. Every year. Just because my mom believed that everyone should have something to open on Christmas, even if they're 90 years old and had no one.
My sister and I came up with a plan that we would try to have everyone together on Christmas. This hardly ever happens. I live out of state, everyone works different hours, everyone's got in-laws or other obligations.. We thought that if we maybe rented a place where we could all just BE TOGETHER without any of that stuff, we could just make it through this one shit year. So we rented a lodge in the Ozarks that sleeps 30 people and headed up to the middle of nowhere. Like no cell service unless you walked 30 paces to the left and held your phone up high nowhere. It was us, and like, 50 elk (don't worry, they slept outside).
When we stepped into the lodge on the first day, one of my nephews yelled, "OH MY GOD, WE'RE STAYING AT THE CRACKER BARREL." Which was... pretty accurate, actually.  Then we just spent the next three days being a family. We missed my mom, cried a little, ate and drank a LOT. Played Bingo and Cards Against Humanity. Hiked and had a Frozen Sing-a-Long. Read Leonard Nimoy poetry.  I even got my eyebrows shaped by my niece (and they're quite lovely, I might add). It was one of the best Christmas's I think I've ever had.

Bonnie would have approved, I think, though I'm pretty sure she was there the whole time.

1 comment:

Machster said...

Beautiful family! Great pics! You got it gal...

thanks for sharing...

Uncle Donald