December has been a blur – as is much of life at 59 – and we’re ending the month and year with an impromptu trip to Yakima. John’s little mother has fallen and shattered her hip and things are very grim.
The sadness is palpable in our house, yet as death approaches, life goes on. That’s the beauty of life and generations.
Most of the month has been good hectic, though (I’ll skip over the icky parts). For one thing, this is the year I bought Disney’s Babes in Toyland to show the kiddies. I saw it with my friend Kelly when we were 6 and loved it then bought the VHS when my kids were little. Liz has told her kids it was her favorite Christmas movie.
A full-fledged musical, Babes is both excellent and lame, depending on the scene, but Annabelle and Luke, who saw it Dec. 12 when I kept them, loved it. Sylvia and Jude liked it when they saw it here the next Friday night. (Sylvia loved the wedding scene, as did her mama when she was little.)
We kept them until around 1 Saturday, when their other granddaddy picked them up, but we kept Silas until Sunday afternoon. He and I made vegan gingerbread to take to Mother’s for Christmas at her house that day.
Since Si is so allergic to milk and eggs, all my baking (which was not much compared to year’s past) was vegan. In addition to the gingerbread, we had dark chocolate zucchini/cranberry loaves for Christmas Eve and pumpkin streusel coffee cake for Christmas brunch.
At Mother’s we had lasagna, too many sweets and present pandemonium. Mother outdid herself for a 79-year-old – in addition to gifts that thrilled the wee ones and pleased the adults, she had red “Peace, ya’ll” shirts made for all us women – said she wanted something “in your face” to make people notice the message.
Mother loves to give gifts, but she still gets as excited as a little girl about getting them, too.
I’d like to think she’s taking after me a bit in her older age, or at least that I’ve rubbed off on her some. I got her a “Coexist” bumper sticker for her car (she wanted one). We also gave her a CD copy of “Rubber Soul” – she always had to rely on my Beatles records, but now she has one of her own.
All the men got nice flannel shirts – but you can see a hint of little Johnny Hardy in this pic. You can’t take the boy out of the man, can you?
Monday I was sick, of all things, right out of the blue (fever gave me an excuse to cuddle up and watch Kinky Boots, which I’d been trying to fit in – you should see it, too), but by Tuesday, the day we learned about Doris, I was at work. Anita graciously sent me home to be with John and help him find us a flight – hard to accomplish this time of year.
Christmas Eve we closed an hour early and John and I scrambled to clean the house (construction mess + muddy dogs = super yuck) and get the food out before friends and family arrived. Brother Paul was in bed feeling puny by that point, so Cathy came alone.
Our friends Marsha and Lee picked up Mother. Our next-door neighbors/surrogate kids Alyssa and Matthew joined us, and my former coworker and friend of pushing-30 years, Helaine and her husband Dre rounded out the crew.
Christmas Eve conversation.
The dogs opened their gifts from Grandma,
Tess and Zuzu consult over their gifts from Grandma. Zuzu never touches a toy without permission from the bully big sister.
and the adults posed for fun photos. It was nice.
Not a bad looking bunch!
Christmas morning I got up early after staying up late and started baking the coffee cake, then we had our Christmas before the kids and grands arrived. What a marvelous morning/early afternoon we had.
The togetherness and how the little ones love each other was the best gift of all.
I could go on, but I won’t. At least not today. Maybe tomorrow.
I don’t feel very profound. Just aware of the joys and sadnesses that make up a good life.