I am most grateful on Christmas Eve when my brood lumbers into our house, clutching presents. food, kids and dogs. The configuration changes every year; sometimes they have spouses, sometimes they don't. It always makes for an interesting family picture, that's for sure.
For many years, Christmas Eve was full of friends. Now it's kids and spouses.
Having three kids, you can always count on a crowd.
Today, Stef arrived, with Belle, his year-old Bassett Hound, in tow. He'd dropped his presents walking over, and murmured that the hot sauce selection he'd bought for Jeff might have broken. Luckily, the Ghost Pepper Sauce was intact, and would revisit Jeff over, again and again.
Stef is single this year, and has recently moved back into the neighborhood with Belle. We are happy to see him after a three-year girlfriend experiment that went sideways. He is always the ember to the flame, and I will always be happy to see his bright and shiny face.
Next in the door was Nick with little Skylar, our nearly five-year-old granddaughter whom he has for the night. Nick is a single dad, and he has Skylar for a few hours, and then she departs for Santaville. We are happy to see her. I remember, not that long ago, holding her in my arms as a baby. I cannot remember five years of my own life, let alone hers, and I cannot believe how much she has grown, and matured. Gosh, how long has it been since Nick was her age, and playing with the exact same toys? Wonders never cease.
Finally in the door come Marissa, Jeff and the baby Kennedy, who is the absolutely light of my life. I have been honored to have been chosen to be her day-to-day caregiver. But I haven't
seen her for a week.
She's confused. It takes a few minutes before she recognizes me. I actually have to sing a few bars of her favorite ditty, before she recognizes her dear old Gran. I wonder: will I always have to treat every day like Ground Hog Day?
We ate, we drank, we spent a good amount of time making sure that Belle The Bassett Hound hadn't eaten the butter tarts. We watched Step Brothers, a movie the kids all know by heart.
And then they were gone.
And here I am alone with my thoughts.
I feel a Frank Sinatra song coming on.