The weekend before Christmas each year my family gets together for the Richardson family Christmas. My granny, who passed away in 2001, had seven children, and her descendents gather to celebrate this holiday every year.
It was good to see everyone. My Aunt Brenda, Uncle Steve and their sons Grant and Peyton live in Port Lavaca. If you have heard of Port Lavaca it is probably because for about three days hurricane Rita was on a direct path for their small town. The storm veered east and past my sister and brother's house in Kemah, past my family in Cold Spring, and past my family in Mont Bellvue. Although all got pretty wet and Aunt Joyce and Uncle Bob lost a big beautiful tree in their yard. Their yard backs up to a bayou that leads straight out into Galveston bay, but they had no flooding, and not a shingle was missing on their home. They were fortunate. Actually, they stayed with us for the night because they had been on a cruise and could not fly out of DFW. During all of this, my cousin Kim, who lives in Atlanta manned a control center keeping up with cell phone numbers and exact locations of all the kin. It was during Rita that Bryce was born and it was Kim in Atlanta that got the word out.
So in light of the last family "get together experience" this was a more relaxed occasion. Aunt Laura made a recipe book for everyone (I was chastized (gently) for not handing in a cookie recipe, but really who wants to write, "open box, empty contents, add water," into a family recipe book. Especially this family. For the most part, this family really cooks.)
We ate lasagna and opened presents. Caleb and Elise got toys they played with from Conroe to Fairfield on the way home so essentially in my book we struck the jackpot this year as far as gifts go. Caleb got a Leap Frog phonics game. I hope it takes. Caleb's favorite book, besides Eric's old comic books, is "Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You?" Long. Boring. Repetitive. So instead of that cozy vision I have of curling up on the couch by the fire with my son and his favorite book, I usually (as I'm making various animal noises) find I'm chastizing myself for not working harder on those phonics so that he can read it on his own. I still want to read him books, but I'd love it if he'd just read some of them on his own.
Each year there seems to be a new child. Elise was the baby last year and she slept in the corner of the room in a little bassinet. There was little sleeping this year as Elise chased two year old Josh and Caleb and a remote controlled car that did not last the weekend. But this year Bryce was the baby. And next year Jason and Rachel will have their second child, so we will have a new baby next year as well.
Anyway, it was a great time with family that we do not see often enough and a reminder of what heaven will be like, only without the long trip home.