We traveled to my brother’s this weekend to celebrate Christmas with him and his family and our parents. The last time we were there it was September, when we met my niece, who was a week old at the time. Also at the time, their new house had walls and floor and a roof and not much else. So we were celebrating Christmas with family, as well as being Lan and Karen’s first houseguests in their new house that is less than a month old.
Saturday morning we woke to find snow on the ground. Snow. Snow!
We planned to open presents that night after dinner, so it already felt like Christmas; what is more Christmas than snow!
We drifted downstairs, poured mugs of coffee, and padded into the den to talk. My mother fixed a big breakfast: biscuits, sausage, eggs, gravy. Later that morning, we began to scatter. Mom and Karen went to Kohl’s and I’m not sure where else. I buried my head at the thought of going shopping seven days before Christmas. Jeffrey (Typing “Jeffrey” uses less keystrokes than “The Husband” so: meet Jeffrey!) and Lan went to Home Depot. My dad and I and two of the kids stayed homebound.
Dad watched the Delta State game on TV. I addressed Christmas cards, checked email, and read my book. The kids played. Jeffrey and Lan brought home sandwiches for lunch. We sat around the dining room table with our takeout. Karen got the shrimp dip out of the fridge, Dad brought in the container of peanut butter fudge. Later everyone went for a walk. Everyone but my dad and the baby, and I imagine they both were glad to have a quiet house for a little bit. The Child asked only about four times was it time yet to open the presents.
I thought he showed considerable restraint.
Jeffrey and Lan grilled steaks. We baked potatoes and mixed up a salad. We made the fourth pot of coffee of the day after dinner. For dessert there was plum spice cake, more peanut butter fudge, and haystacks to nibble on. I love being able to fix a little sampler plate of lots of goodies.
After we opened presents everybody milled around, looking at gifts we may have missed them opening during the hubbub. Mom tried on her new house shoes. Dad modeled the St. Louis Cardinals jacket Lan and Karen gave him.
The Child wanted to take every last gift out of its box – the rocket ship alarm clock, the Galileo thermometer. If it was breakable and/or had small parts, the more he wanted to get it out.
Sunday morning we all got ready to drive back to Mississippi to Jenifer’s house, our cousin, who was hosting the extended family Christmas gathering. Dad was dressed and drinking coffee when The Husband and I got downstairs. We ate toast and haystacks standing up. The Child asked to ride with my brother. Karen said, sure, but she may need us to carry some of their things with us. Jeffrey loaded our car as fast as I could bring luggage and odds and ends down to him.
My dad stood around, almost, but not quite, pacing. His brother, Joe, was already there and Dad was ready to see him. He had on his new Cardinals jacket.
I went out to my car for something and since my car was directly behind my dad’s truck, I went ahead and moved my car so that Mom and Dad could make a faster getaway. I hopped in my car, backed it up, then pulled forward on the other side of the driveway. I went inside and finished getting ready. I got the Polar Express DVD and The Child’s new MSU nightlight from the playroom where he slept. I came downstairs to get another cup of coffee. Jeffrey came in from where he was refiguring the luggage and gift arrangement.
“A car ran over the Christmas gifts! They’re ruined!”
I looked at him. The bag with the Christmas gifts we were taking to Jenifer’s was in the trunk. A car ran into my trunk? My car is in the driveway. How could that even happen?
He was still talking, telling me that the box Nick’s present was in was just demolished and he didn’t know if the china piece for my grandmother or the glass windchime I’d gotten for the takeaway gift were okay or if they both smashed to smithereens.
This was still not adding I up. I said, “Where was the bag with the Christmas gifts?”
Jeffrey had taken the bag out of the car, probably while he was rearranging, and had set it on the ground behind the car. It was perfectly situated for me to run smooth over it, probably twice: once when I reversed, and again when I pulled back up.
The one gift in the sack of presents that was not breakable was the very one that got smashed. It’s our own Christmas miracle.