On Christmas Eve I got up at 8am to have breakfast, take my fistful of pills, shower, feed my kitty, etc., so that I could be at my daughter’s by 10. I was babysitting two of my three granddaughters so that Tara and Justin could finish up their Christmas shopping.
Now this is motherly and grandmotherly love to be up at that time in the morning. I usually get up at the crack of noon. My rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia means that everything from the roots of my hair to my toe-nails hurt like crazy and I have so many problems getting to sleep and then staying asleep that most nights just feels like a series of naps, and not restorative naps either.
Tara and Justin also live on the 2nd floor of a 3-apartment house and there are two flights of steep stairs just to get from my car up to their apartment. I often feel like I have completed a marathon just by making it into their living room!
Tara and Justin gave me quick hugs and kisses while 5-year old Evvie begged and begged to go with them. Evvie loves me a lot but the lure of going shopping with Mommy and Daddy and maybe getting to ride Sandy, the mechanical horse at Meijer’s, will always overcome the many fun times that her and I always have together.
Charlotte, who will be 2 in February, is still in the “getting to know that weird old lady” phase and she kept looking at her parents, then back at me in alarm when she realized that Mommy and Daddy were leaving her again with “that weird old lady”.
She didn’t cry when Mommy and Daddy waved bye-bye to her and left but she glared at me for about 15 minutes because I really think she blamed me for making them leave. And that kid can sure scowl a good, fierce glare!
But when she saw me and Evvie having fun playing with their extensive collection of My Little Ponies, she happily joined us.
Evvie held up each one of the many ponies, told me their names, and why she liked each one. Then Charlotte began to grab different ones and she held them up so close to my face that I would make cross-eyes trying to look at it. That always makes Evvie laugh so hard and Charlotte chuckled too, whenever she could forget she was supposed to continue to glare at me.
So we played with their ponies and other toys for a couple of hours until it was time to get their lunches around. I don’t know how Tara deals with their vastly different food likes and dislikes on a daily basis. Everything I brought out meant that one would enthusiastically like it and the other would emphatically say, “NO!”
So I compromised. I fixed them things that they liked and disliked and I figured that if they each ate a bit of something was the best that I could do.
So after their lunch it was time for Charlotte to be changed and put down for her nap. She hates to have her diaper changed and has hated it since she’s been born.
Charlotte is definitely a free-spirit kid and she would be quite happy to be allowed to be naked all day long. She likes having her diaper removed and cleaned up but trying to get that kid back into a clean diaper and clothes is like trying to fight a multiple armed and legged screaming, twisting tree in a high wind. It’s exhausting!
So after I finally got Charlotte all cleaned up with fresh clothes on her and into her crib for her nap, I felt like I needed a nap as well!
Evvie and I cozily settled into the rocking recliner with the footrest up and a blankie all tucked in around us while we watched her favorite cartoons. Every few minutes I would begin to nod off and start to quietly snore and Evvie would start to giggle and that would make me wake up. So I played on that and began to exaggerate the snoring and the waking up noises to Evvie’s delight.
After half an hour, Evvie jumped out of the chair and got some of her school papers she was supposed to do over the Christmas break and as she settled back in on my lap in the recliner, we went over some of the words and phrases in Spanish that she is learning.
Evvie is in kindergarten and it constantly amazes me that she is learning Spanish at the age of 5! The highlight of my year in kindergarten in 1960 was discovering that my teacher really didn’t like it if you colored the sky green and the grass blue in any drawings you made. I was a rebel even then.
Evvie had one drawing she was supposed to color of a Christmas tree with presents under it. At the top of the page was the Spanish phrase “Feliz Navidad” which means Merry Christmas. So she was happy when I began to sing her the song “Feliz Navidad” that Jose` Feliciano had made famous in the late 1960’s.
We chatted about Christmas and that Santa was going to come later that night and we discussed what toys she was hoping Santa would bring her because Evvie had been such a very good girl that year.
Evvie also showed me all of the really cute Christmas decorations she had made with her Daisy Girl Scout troop. There was a snowball ornament and a Christmas tree one and a Christmas stocking decoration. She had even made an adorable coaster too. She proudly let me use it under my bottle of Vitamin water.
We snuggled back under our blankie to watch some Christmas cartoons and we both nodded off and took a short nap before Tara and Justin came back from their shopping.
Charlotte woke up a few minutes after that and Tara began laughing as I told her of my difficulties putting a clean diaper and clothes back on her. She said try to imagine going through that many times a day. Times like that makes me glad I’m a grandma now!
Then I went home to try and do as much baking and prep work as I could that night before going back to Tara and Justin’s the next day in the late afternoon for Christmas dinner and fun times.
I eventually made 4 dozen lemon bars and 4 dozen Rice Krispy cookies as well as a loaf of garden herb bread. The lemon bars and the cookies were packaged into individual gifts for Tara, Justin and my granddaughters Ava, Evvie and Charlotte as well as some for neighbors. The bread was for our Christmas dinner.
Then I made Christmas cards for everybody and included a surprise gift inside of the girls’ cards for them too. But by the time I was done and my kitchen looked like a tornado had hit it, it was already 3pm. I still had to take a shower and get going so I had to leave the kitchen clean up for later.
The girls loved their treats and their cards and Tara and Justin liked theirs too. Then the girls showed me all of the cute toys that Santa had brought them while Tara and Justin finished getting our Christmas dinner ready.
Evvie had received a cute My Little Pony Play-Doh toy from Santa. There was a special plunger in the top of the pony’s head where little balls of the colored Play-Doh could be inserted and then out would come long strands of the clay that looked like a mane.
Ava and Evvie were having a blast trying to make the longest mane that they could and then they figured out that if they put 2 or 3 different colors of the Play-Doh clay in the plunger, then out would come a rainbow mane.
Charlotte had received a Daniel Tiger and a Cookie Monster plush toys and she carried them around with a huge grin on her face.
Ava had received some more Diary of a Wimpy Kid books that she loved as well. So we all had fun playing with their new toys together.
We had sausage slices, cheeses and crackers, ham, green bean casserole, the garden herb bread and mashed potatoes and gravy and everything was so delicious.
Tara and I looked at photos of my mom together and we got misty-eyed reminiscing about her. My mom died a little over a year ago and we know she would have loved to have been with us on Christmas but she is still in our hearts and in our thoughts.
We watched several movies together after dinner. We watched “Home Alone” which is still a funny, funny Christmas-themed movie. Then we watched “Home” which just came out earlier in the year about aliens who take over the earth to escape from the Grog and that was pretty good too.
After that Justin’s brother, Neil, stopped by and after putting the kids to bed, we all chatted and laughed while Justin and Neil showed Tara and I some pretty funny videos on You-Tube about Donald Trump.
Then after Neil left, Tara and Justin continued watching a few more episodes from Season 4 of Downton Abbey from my DVD set I had loaned to them. They’re trying to get through the rest of Season 4 and then all of Season 5 before Season 6 starts again on PBS January 3.
It was fun for me to re-watch those earlier episodes as well. But when I realized that it was now after 3am, I had to reluctantly leave. It didn’t seem like it was that late and it never does when you are having a good time.
Christmas 2015 was busy but fun! I’m so very grateful and thankful that I have my beautiful daughter and her family to share good times and good food.