Our grownup sons and their families have always filled our holidays with delight, but one Christmas stands out above all others.
Our Christmas Eve dinner and the opening of gifts added to our family celebration and with full tummies we relaxed in the warmth of the crackling fire in the fireplace. The long legs of the men in my household sprawled across the carpet.
“Mom and Dad,” Lane, our youngest son, began, ”It’s so good to be back home. I want you to know what you mean to me. I had such a happy childhood here. Remember our cat, Old Tom, and how we all teased him?”
“Yeah,” Lance adds. “Remember when Mark and I got in a paint fight and got white paint all over the brick wall?”
“It’s still there too,” their daddy interrupts.
“Remember the tricks we did with Chow and the dish towel?” Mark replies, “And we’ll never forget the miles you drove to see us play ball.”
“Or all the rock hunting trips and picnics,” the boys reminisced.
They set me up every time. I think they like to see me cry. Little Traci says, “Mawmaw is a Christian because she cries a lot!”
In the wee hours of the night, our house becomes strangely quiet again. Those little boys who grew up so quickly were back in their beds. The same familiar refrain from previous years echoed from grandchildren: “Good night, Mommy. Good night, Daddy. I love you.”
The same clock chimed its soothing sounds; blessing me that everyone had come home once more.
Grandchildren slept in sleeping bags on the floor. People snored all over the place.
The next morning brought “taking turns for showers, hair drying and washing clothes.”
“Dad, may I use your razor? I forgot mine.”
“Sure,” my husband replies, “as long as you don’t want to borrow my toothbrush!”
The dining room holds “shoulder to shoulder” chairs but hungry people don’t seem to mind.
On Sunday morning everyone scattered around getting ready for church. I cooked breakfast in shifts and found myself apologizing for the lack of room to my Connie, a daughter-in-love. Her reply is something I hold in my heart forever:
“It isn’t the size of your house. It’s the size of your love.”
Her statement reminds me what family is all about, being together with family in the “old home place” of memories, especially at Christmas.
Several days later my beloved ones started packing to go home. I resolved not to cry. Who am I kidding? It’s the love I have that brings the tears. I watched them drive away as far as I could see. My husband took me in his arms as we waved good-bye.
It’s all about the size of your love.
My Connie taught me that because families are forever, especially at Christmas time.