POST CHRISTMAS UPDATE--
long drive, stopped at dad's relatives and they put us up for dinner and the night and it was so peaceful and accommodating! We had planned to leave the next morn (Sunday) but were invited to the "old" church I had been to numerous times as a child, so we did go. And it was warm and inviting, and even my kids commented how welcomed they felt.
Time to drive a couple more hours to mom's house.
dog jumps on DD and gets nail caught in her skirt. Yelp yelp yelp!
dog jumps and me and gets nail caught in my sweater. Yelp yelp yelp!
dog gets removed to back bedroom.
We all sit down, and sit...sit...sit...few pleasantries, and sit...
finally ding dong!
and brother and Aunt T and kids arrive. fun!
other brother and Aunt L and kids arrive, fun!
Mom decides to start chili for dinner. Brown the beef, no seasoning. dump in pot, add beans. add tomatoes. One hour later, dinner is served!
Only a few ate. (My family is from Texas, nuff said)
Aunt T and I run errands at the grocery store for milk, bananas, yogurt, kid cereal, carrots, etc...
Next day, slow morning, cold, take kids out to play, leftovers for lunch, till time to kill...let's do the trains!
And they were a HIT!!! used kid colorful kid cereal for decorations, and it worked!
(one brother made a rather gruesome Reaver ship from Firefly, using gummie bears. ugh)
kids went to play games with dads while moms cleaned up, and Aunt L said, "now what? we still have nothing to do for a few hours?"
So I got out the cookie stuff.
And they were a HIT!!! Even the toddler played with the colored dough, and wound up with a Monet style impression of a cloudy Santa.
we all took pictures, and the clean up was easy since I used lots of wax paper taped to the table and packed away all the stuff in my box that I had brought.
Aunt T asked later, "can we take a few cookies to leave for Santa? We forgot about that with two preschoolers!"
of course, and her kids "wrote" notes for Santa and DH and I had fun watching her and my brother lay out items for their kids, and then her "making" my brother eat the cookies.
As for the service,
we DID do the family photo beforehand, even though mom had fussed the day before and the day of, that there would be no time. We did it, with time to spare.
At church, sat in the back, on time, ZERO introductions by mom to anyone. Seriously, she did not speak to anyone except the door greeter. we had 14 people!
And then we left as soon as it was over, "to not get caught in (other church) traffic."
(we looked nice, too. One brother forgot dress shoes, but his DD wore an adorable Christmas dress, other brother only wore a t-shirt, but his girls wore matching sweater dresses, and my family was very nicely dressed in tights and dresses or dress shirts and shoes.) It was a very nice family photo.
The Christmas gifts were hit or miss.
ex) I received two large framed prints of a relatively famous childrens' author's illustrated book. Apparently I loved one of her stories as a preschooler. I did not even recognize the 2nd print, but was murmuring, "thanks mom!" when she interrupted, "I was going to give them last year, but since you did not come then, just held on to them. I needed them to go."
Meanwhile, one gift my teen kids put together for their young cousins was met with a smile that just got wider and wider, and then the exclamation, "It just makes me so happy!!!"
And that is why we went. To see the little kids' joy and wonder of Christmas, once a year to see my family, once a year to see that even though I have left, some of my heart is still there.
My brothers stayed at mom's as little as possible, also, it is not just me.
But there is no where else to meet. Mom does not know (I do not think, anyway) that we followed one brother home and hung with him for another day.
Next year, DS will be in college. Who knows what the future will hold. But it was a good vist.
We beat the freeze and rain coming home again and we will see what 2014 holds for us.
Happy New Year!!