christmas bliss

I called months ago… “Mom, when are you coming to my house during your Christmas visit?” I asked.

My parents always divide the time between the kids over just a few days.

“I don’t know, when do you want me to come?” she said.

Lyra shouted from the back seat, “For CHRISTMAS!”

“Sounds great!” my mom shouted back…and  that was that.

Because we found each other again this fall and before I even knew it, I invited the whole family to our house for Christmas Eve. I think I re-wrote the e-mail 5 times…wanting it to be right. Still cautious and hopeful as we build our family back together again. I knew it would be crazy and A LOT…a lot of all kinds of things.

…goodness, intensity, magic…but mostly it was a lot of FUN! We needed fun and it was everything New York was but with more people to love.

You know it’s a good Christmas…

…when the new boyfriend in the family insists you go out to dinner alone with your man the night before all the madness, and you come home to balloons, kids holding homemade signs and lots of intention to love you.

…when you have to navigate dynamics before anyone even gets there that would have sunk you before but now is a sister triumph of sorts…and you love each other and yourselves even more at the end.

…when you wake up so early before everyone is up to get your craft on, make a beautiful table with sweet pictures and create something new you are SURE is Pinterest worthy, even if it’s not, just the idea alone thrills you.

crafty christmas collage

…the kids sit at the wrong end of the 2o foot table where all the space is and bring a new card game to play during dinner…and the adults sit huddled together bumping in to each other, close and real.

very hammond christmas collage

…the introverts are huddled in the kitchen pouring another glass of wine or jack and coke to make it through, they love it, they love us but liquid courage helps.

…when everyone willingly decides to take a giant ass family picture because it means a lot to your mother…and in the end, you fall in love with all the funny pictures.

christmas family love2-30small

…and you pour through the out-takes realizing those shoes are never tied no matter how many times you tie them and sweet moments of family love you missed.

christmas portrait out take

…when one foodie sister is whipping up the best peppermint hot chocolate of your life, the other is breaking out the flying wish paper…and everyone makes a wish, watches it fly and catches it as it floats to the ground.

wish paper collage

…and you watch the generations of soul love and ritual wisdom being passed down to your kids right before your eyes.

wish paper collage magic

…you remember you still have some sparklers stashed away that you have been holding on to for just a moment like this.

mason sparkler love

…and you can’t remember a more beautiful night.

christmas family love2-65

…and just when you think it can’t get any sweeter, your sister performs her Christmas pageant number from the 6th grade while your mother is beaming like a Toddlers and Tiara episode. …and then you dance together.

melekeliki collage

…it was magical and messy.

…and then you lay in bed for literally 2 days after everyone leaves because you are completely exhausted and because you haven’t done such a thing in like 3 years…and you are happy…and exhausted.

You know it was 7 hours together, and who knows if it was so magical because you know how hard it was before…and you know how hard it still is…but you don’t think about it too much because there was a pretty table, too much ham, wishes and fireworks, small children blissed out with cousins, old people filled with joy, and dancing…and messy, messy love.