On Thursday, December 23, Dan and I folded down the seats in our little SUV, packed it to the brim with luggage, presents and groceries, and headed to my mom's house in Carlsbad, in preparation for a family Christmas. Tim left Albuquerque at the same time, in his rental car (his own car is still in the body shop), and we kept in touch along the way and stopped in Roswell for lunch together. We were glad that there was no inclement weather or bad roads this year.
Christmas Eve day was relaxing and enjoyable. Dan, Tim, Mom and I got in a lot of visiting, since the only tasks I had to do that day were to roll out some pie crusts for Christmas Day dinner and wrap the last of the presents.
I rose early on Christmas morning and started making our breakfast kolaches and baking pies. Chris, Kelsey and the children were due to arrive at Mom's house around 9:00 a.m. They were driving from Pecos, TX, where they had enjoyed a huge Christmas Eve celebration with Kelsey's extended family.
Shortly after 9:00 our Christmas Day became less relaxing, more energized and animated, and even more enjoyable than our Christmas Eve had been. Children are to Christmas morning as lights are to the tree; they make the day glow!
Clara waited patiently, with eager anticipation, until she was given the okay to start passing out the presents. Robert, who only a month ago celebrated his birthday, and just the day before had celebrated Christmas at his other grandparents' home, knew what opening packages was all about, but he was a bit slow, so big sister helped him along at times.
Our Christmas dinner was a roasted pork loin, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, pasta salad, apple sauce, and bread rolls, with both pumpkin and pecan pie for dessert.
That evening, and the next day, we spent as much time as possible playing with the children. Robert walks - and even runs - all over the place now. He and I had fun playing the "Where's Robert?" game. He would run out of the living room, into the kitchen, where I couldn't see him. I would ask, "Where's Robert?" which was his cue to peek around the corner and wait for me to say "Peek-a-boo, there he is!" He would laugh, run and hug me, and then dash back into the kitchen, waiting for my next "Where's Robert?" Over and over. Such fun!
Clara and I took a walk to the river, played games, read books, tried out her new bicycle (her Santa gift) and her "stompers." She's such a sweetheart, and getting to an age where we can talk about so many interesting things.
Tim left on Sunday, right after lunch, because he had to be back at work on Monday. Chris and Kelsey and Dan and I planned to stay until Tuesday morning. However, our plans changed. Both Robert and Chris started having respiratory problems. Robert hardly slept on Sunday night because of a bad cough. All four of the Texas Judds were sleeping in the same room at Mom's house, so when Robert didn't sleep well, neither did the others. They decided to head on home on Monday. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Robert ends up visiting his doctor once they arrive back home.
As for Dan and I, we also opted to leave on Monday. On Sunday night, Dan tripped on a large wooden planter box that sits just outside Mom's front door, and fell down hard onto the pavement. We were so thankful that he didn't sustain any serious injuries -- nothing broken (except his Nook - his e-book reader), nothing sprained, just a few scrapes and some sore muscles. We felt that going home on Monday was the best thing to do, after such a shake-up.
Despite the less-than-perfect ending, we have many wonderful memories of our time together. I'm so grateful for my mom, who, at 84, was willing to host all of us; for Tim, who took time off work to spend time with the family; and for Chris and Kelsey, who always put family first, even when it means traveling so far with two little ones.
God is good. We are blessed.