Christmas Party

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We managed to surprise and delight each family member, a miracle right up there with Jesus’ birth. (Thunder rumbles in the distance…OK, I get it, back off of the comparisons to the Lord – Sorry ). There IS instant karma in seeing gifts make their recipients happy though, and Husband puts his arm around me, and we share a knowing smile as we watch their shining faces light up. Then it is off to visit. Over the river and through the sprawling subdivisions, to Eldest Son’s house we go. He shares an abode with a cast of characters worthy of the wildest sit-com writer’s imagination. Males, females, feline and canine all happily reside in the split-level funhouse. They have decorated extensively, and filled one another’s stockings with kindergarten toys. There is something magical about seeing a tattooed, eyebrow-pierced young man sitting cross-legged on the floor, giggling over a coloring book.

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Eldest Son learned deviousness and trickery at his mother’s knee, and we end up giving one another presents we had questioned about as possible gifts for others. “Do you think Dad would like…?” I had asked weeks earlier, and reading his expression of, “Yeah, heck, I’d like that,” it did indeed become his gift. He had directed me to a website and asked if the items would be suitable for his younger brother and sister. My eager response earned Husband and I those gifts. Eldest Son gave Steady Girlfriend a baseball jersey emblazoned with “Sweatheart” and she in turn gave him a gift engraved with “I love you, sweatheart”. They explained having chuckled mightily over a book of photographs of misspelled graffiti, and how they’d laughed that some urban Lothario had emblazoned a bridge with, “I love you, sweatheart”. They had picked it up as their own private endearment. A while back, Eldest Son had taken Steady Girlfriend to New York City, to see her favorite band, U2, in concert. They spent a week there, and it rained six of the seven days.

He brought his laptop out to exhibit photographs they had taken. The two of them started describing the scenarios of each picture, laughing together, sharing a secret smile, and my throat began to clutch up. I’m such a sap anyway, I cry at sad movies, happy events, and baby food commercials .Throw in the sentimentality of Christmas, and I am a fountain. But there was something so. . .dare I say, “precious” about their reminiscences. The way they giggled at being drenched at every turn, the joy they took in one another’s company, that made the inclement weather irrelevant. They had delighted in seeing things…not only for the first time, but also as a shared experience. They had taken the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building, and walked out on the deck, even though the rain and fog had made visibility near zero. They had felt the wind sway the building. Then our son, our firstborn, had truly rocked the world, and gotten down on one knee and proposed. The small crowd of dampened tourists cheered when she accepted his ring, and his mother cried like a baby when they told us the tale. Steady Girlfriend/Now Fiancée held out her delicate hand to display the engagement ring. It was lovely, she is lovely, and I am a salt lick, so drenched in happy tears.

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