Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Missing Christmas Post

I've been catching up on blogs a bit this evening and have seen a few bloggers recounting the activities they participated in and the gifts they gave and received. you'll notice there isn't one of those posts on my blog.

It's actually been kind-of quiet around the homestead this year. With everything it has taken to get to this point (okay, that was my last whine, I promise) it was nice just to stick close to home and take a little break. People at work have been asking me if I had a good holiday and I tell them yes (and I truly mean it) but I don't really have any stories to swap with them.

On Christmas Eve, the wife and I went down to Oklahoma City to meet with her family and some friends for our third annual Christmas Eve Dinner at the Olive Garden. When the wife's father died in February 2005, we knew Christmas was going to be a tough time for everyone involved. You see, her father was born on December 24 (and coincidentally died on February 13) and, if we weren't visiting my folks, we always spent Christmas Eve celebrating his birthday. In 2005, her mother decided that, rather than sitting quietly at home mourning his absence, we should all go out on Christmas Eve and have a really nice meal at a really nice restaurant. We just happened to pick The Olive Garden. We had such a good time that we did it again last year - same restaurant, same location. By this year, it had become a tradition, just like her father's birthday.

Money is sparse this year so we haven't been able to divert much toward gifts (although, we have made a token gesture for the younglings). The adults agreed not to exchange gifts so this now traditional gathering was a gift to me. It was my opportunity to see my mother in law, my nieces and nephew, and some other family friends in a relaxed, festive atmosphere. The kids were well behaved, the conversation was enjoyable, the food was - as always - marvelous (I had the eggplant Parmesan), and it was one of the best Christmas celebrations I've taken part in in several years.

I will be going up to visit my folks this coming weekend (if the weather holds out). I wish I could have made the 19th person at the family gathering at my niece's house this year but the coming weekend promises to be fun as well without quite so much... closeness.

My motto for this Christmas has been, "Blessed are those who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed." It hasn't failed me so far.

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