My most favorite day of the year has always been Christmas Eve. When I was younger and still under my parent's roof, each year we ventured down to my Pepaw's house to celebrate Christmas. For some reason, this tradition was more special to me than Christmas morning (as much fun as that was!) I loved being with my family and inevitably laughing so hard that I'd nearly pee my pants. My brothers were the coolest! My grandpa would fire up the grill with a “special” egg nog in one nubby fingered hand and in the other was the tool to cook the steaks. It was always warm, cozy, and exciting. We loved to be “Santa” and give out the presents that were under his tree. The record player in the room would play Bing Crosby or some other classic. Ah…good times.
Now, as I am now married and live two thousand miles away. My precious family that I married into has filled that void that I still incredibly miss. Even though Pepaw is no longer here on earth and even though I miss my family tremendously as they continue on the “Steak and Special Eggnog” tradition, I am filled by joy on Christmas Eve of family. I realize I am blessed to enjoy and to feel the love of such a unique family as my husbands. Like my bro-in-law said this year, “How is it that I am at my in-laws and I am not counting down the hours until we leave?”
This year was like every other year at the Chadwick household- a house filled with the smells of homemade ravioli, a kitchen full of helpers pulling/stretching/making the dough for the ravioli's, excited hearts to give away their homemade gifts, people writing out their heart-felt letters to their secret person, many o' children going this way and that with the anticipation of everything Christmas, chaos, and peace. The ravioli's were amazing (I had a gluten free version that was pretty darn good), and the homemade gifts were priceless. Each year, I have to fight myself to live within the moment of such a special, vulnerable, heartfelt time of gift giving. It is intense. Not up my alley. But it is so beautiful and there is nothing like it. We sit in a circle and start from youngest to oldest. The youngest sits in the middle on the floor and whoever has him goes and sits next to him. A letter is given to each person from their gift maker and read aloud by the receiver. Of course, there are tears and laughter and pride exuded for their brother/sister/mom/dad. It is a special experience. In a nutshell, this is why Christmas Eve is the most treasured day for me. So deep and intricately put together.
I will post another blog on my gift later…just wait- it is AWESOME!