We all have Christmases that are forever etched into our memories. My 2008 Christmas is one that I will cherish for as long as my memory does not fail me.
Just as we have within the past three years, my husband and I take my eldest daughter's eldest daughter to the Christmas Eve children's program at church, along with my husband's son. It's a wonderful tradition that I hope continues for many more years. Just as she had in the years past though, staying awake throughout the program is not high on Madison's priority list. I don't want our Pastor to take that personally though because this year was one of the most enjoyable services that I have attended. The music alone was entertaining, then you toss in the children, their verses and songs, it made for a very enjoyable evening.
Once we awoke sleeping beauty and arrived back at home, we were greeted by the rest of the gang anticipating our grand entrance as they awaited our annual gift opening. Among the adults that were ready for a fun night were four granddaughters and I thought that it would be a good year for them to take turns. I was pleasantly surprised as they patiently awaited their turns while cheering on their predecessor's ripping of the paper and boxes. They were overjoyed with everything that they were given and to my amazement there were no arguments about someone getting something that someone else wanted. These girls are growing up so quickly!!
Our Christmas this year had changed from years past as we set new rules. We would buy for the little ones, have a grab bag for the adults and we adamantly requested no gifts be bought for my husband and I. We knew that times were tough for everyone and the thought of them spending money on us needlessly was unnecessary. And let me tell you, we made it known that under no circumstances were we to receive any gifts. Mom has spoken; that was that.
While the packages were distributed, guess what? Packages were placed at our feet. As I stood scolding all that watched as I opened the first gift, my mouth froze. It was a family photo, matted and framed of one of my daughters' family. I opened the next, then the next, then the next, then the next, by this time the tears were flowing. Our children gave us family photos of every family, matted and framed. One of the frames was empty because the weather had delayed their sitting for the photographer (which happens to be one of my daughters). As we await the arrival of yet another grandchild, we eagerly await the addition to our family portfolio.
I could not have asked for anything more. You see I didn't ask for anything, but was given the greatest gift of all...a loving family, and my walls have the portraits to prove it!