Thursday, December 30, 2010

Family Times and Traditions

It was a good holiday of spending time with family and friends. Pictures? Not sure if I have any downloaded to the computer, but I'll check.

We had a Christmas Eve dinner with 3 of our boys, one daughter-in-law, and one significant other, who we love as much as a daughter-in-law. After exchanging gifts we all headed to Shaffer's house for our traditional Christmas eve gathering, culminating as usual with singing Christmas carols. Our tradition began about 35 years ago. Tom and I would pack up our two little boys, then three, then four little boys and head over to Gary and Nadine's house. Sometimes we'd take a detour through Pleasant Hills and look at all the pretty Christmas lights. At Shaffer's, in the early years, our kids played with their kids, we exchanged gifts, snacked, and sang Christmas carols before heading home, sometimes in blizzard conditions. Through the years our small group grew adding the Thayer family, Fergusons, Parsons, Thumms, and more. Kids grew up, families came and went. A few years ago we moved the gathering to our house. This year though the Shaffer's grown children hosted the Christmas eve party, and it was splendid. What a joy to have Shaffer's little ones running around -- a treat that the Parsons' grandchildren and the Thayer's grandchildren offered in years past. I fantasize about a day when my own grandchildren might be among the little ones who cheerfully chant "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer" and sweetly sing "Away in a Manger". Someday -- maybe. On the other hand, my children may be busy creating their own family traditions -- and perhaps we'll be drawn into theirs. Traditions are lovely, but they aren't sacred. Only love is sacred and it can be lived out in so many wonderful evolving ways.

Christmas Day was relaxing...waking up late and enjoying a quiet morning with just Nathan here. We had coffee, and opened presents, and then made a light brunch before heading off to Erie to have a delicious Christmas dinner with David's in-law family. What a treat. I can't remember when I didn't spend Christmas morning fixing Christmas dinner. We had a happy, blessed time with the Blais family.

The day after Christmas, after church, we were off to State College with half of our kiddos for the Bruce family gathering. Good times, grand confusion, great amounts of food, exchanging of gifts, playing games, catching up with sisters, brothers, and their super-duper spouses (who are like sisters and brothers), nieces, nephews and their friends. Even Pop-Pop made the trip from Florida, although without Oma -- because that's just the way it worked out due to a business meeting. We missed Kathy's fam from France and of course missed our brother Rob who has gone on, but is with us in spirit... always.

Days after Christmas we took Nathan, David and Melanie last night to Adam and Alicia's house. The seven of us enjoyed a long s-l-o-w dinner at Chili's. We spent the time laughing about lots of stuff including our favorite sitcoms :-) Then Tom and I headed home, leaving the early morning airport run (which I trust happened at about 6 a.m.) to Adam and Alicia. That allowed Tom and me to stay snug in bed at 5:00 a.m. rather than finding ourselves cruising down the highway to get all 3 out-of-state kids to the airport for morning flights.

Enough. I've got to get ready for company. Apparently we just can't get enough of spending time with people! Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. Enjoy, be safe, review your old year, and no matter how good or bad it was, make good resolutions for the one coming up. My resolve will be to know and love God more clearly and His people, all those He puts in my path, more dearly. Happy New Year to you and yours.


Ellen Campbell said...

Happy New Year Betsy...your holidays sound lovely. We had everyone here and it was a bit crazy but fun and good. Our newest and best news is the Barbara is expecting! August 4th...Jim and I are so happy. Love, Ellen

Betsy Henning said...

Thank you, Ellen, for your comment and for sharing your absolutely terrific news. Congrats to all.