the last week here at the Lawrence house has been positively blissful. Things have been relaxed and, I tell you, that is exactly what we needed this year. After 6 months of tension: leaving the Midwest and my family, cancer, surgery, recovery, insurance hassles, settling into a new neighborhood, new school, new church. It has all felt frantic.
the first few weeks in Alaska, we were so busy with all the medical stuff and school. Then, as Dave began to feel better, we began to go again, catching up with friends long neglected in our moves. A beloved aunt and uncle came to visit, Dave’s folks were in town. A long awaited trek to Homer. A trip to Kenny Lake to reconnect with very special friends. Each week that Dave was home something was going on.
The weeks he was gone were filled with school and fencing and volunteering and Daisy Scouts. Our Dave-less weekends were often spent in the Valley playing with the Riopelles or the Becks.
So, when Christmas break rolled around, although I missed/miss my family terribly, I was ready for the slow down. And without extended family, it really was slow around here.
We have never had a week like this. Dave has been home since the day before Christmas, and has only been on the phone 2 times for work. I think he only checked his email once. The kids have been off of school, and since I don’t work… It has been wonderful.
Christmas eve was quiet, we went to church and enjoyed a lovely service complete with candles and volunteer choir. Singing “Silent Night” with each persons face illuminated by the glow of the candles… knowing my family had done the same in Minnesota.
At home that evening, we opened presents. Not too many, that really isn’t our thing. Neither Dave nor I grew up in households that went all out over Christmas presents and we have not made that a part of our family celebrations either. Broder got some Troll legos, Kjell got an mp3 player, Sunny some doll clothes. All the kids got pipecleaners and games and a puzzle to share.
The most exciting present by far was the book box. Dave and I had gone to a used book store in town and bought a bunch of books, some for each member of the family including our selves. There were mysteries, car repair manuals, fantasy, history, knitting, learn to read , books of all kinds. We had wrapped each book in newspaper(and didn’t label them as to whom they belonged) and put all the books in a large box. When it came time to open the box, the kids pulled out any book, unwrapped it, and tried to figure out who it belonged to. this was great fun and something I think we will do in years to come.
Christmas morning brought the usual stockings stuffers, toothpaste, band-aids, toothbrushes and a little bit of candy.
In the afternoon, our friend Tom came over for dinner. It was great to send some time with him and catch up on all that has gone on in his life over the last 6 years. It was an afternoon of good conversation, snuggled in our little house watching the snow pile up outside.
In the days since Christmas, we have played a lot of games, put together a puzzle, taken the dog for long walks, baked some bread and lefse, drank good coffee and little wine, and generally just hung out as a family. We didn’t even start the car for 3 days!
The holidays are so often a time of busy running and that is so much fun, and I missed that a little this year, there were times when I would get a little teary knowing that all my siblings and my parents were together, without us. But, I think this last week was just what we needed.