A dream came true for us this past Christmas. For years, Missy and I have been looking forward to owning a home and hosting our first big holiday for family and friends. We love the idea of receiving guests and starting new traditions, and Christmas 2008 marked that beginning for us.
Typically, we head to Missy’s family’s house for Christmas day (having spent Christmas Eve with my family). So, much of our holiday is usually spent in the car, which, with as exhausting as that is, doesn’t make us the most riotous revelers. This year, Missy’s family agreed to travel to us for Christmas dinner.
Her parents came, and her two brothers, Brendan and Ryan, and Brendan’s fiance. We also had the pleasure of having two of our neighbors join us whose plans for the day had fallen apart at the last minute – A perfect opportunity for us to fulfill our dream of opening our home and hearts up to others in this way. And, these are the neighbors, who were kind enough to put us (and our cat, Kramer!) up during the ice storm power outage (for three nights, I might add!), and the same couple who hosted the open house for us when we moved to the neighborhood (see The Kindness of Strangers), so it was wonderful to host them for a change.
I realized when we made these plans, that us hosting may be just as big of a deal for Missy’s mom as it was for us. After all, Jeanenne has always hosted most holidays, and, with Missy being her only daughter, it could be quite a rite of passage to hand this responsibility over to her (at least every other year, per our agreement!). Bill and Jeanenne (M’s parents) came early on Christmas Day to help our foray into this grown-up arena.
What a joy it was to be cooking in our big, beautiful kitchen – the three of us – Jeanenne, Missy, and me, with Christmas music playing, and Bill working his decorating magic as he put some final touches on our dining room table (see the photo below). Jeanenne LOVES to cook (and is phenomenal at it) and her relaxing energy was contagious, so we really got to enjoy our new tradition while learning from a master. 🙂 Hopefully the pleasure of the experience also allowed Jeanenne to enjoy this important moment in a mother and daughter’s lives.
So we ate a delicious meal, and then ate some more; shared stories and laughter (and lots of wine ;-)). The day went off without a hitch, wrapping up with us sitting around a fire in our living room exchanging presents by the tree. Norman Rockwell couldn’t have illustrated a more perfect scene. It was all we hoped for and more.