Christmas morning my husband woke us all early, a big kid wanting to get to the present-opening festivities, but not to see what he had netted. No, he wanted to see the faces of his family as we opened the gifts he had gotten for us. He is that kind of man. On his birthday every year, he buys us all gifts. This year, he came home with five tissue-wrapped packages for his wife, daughter, niece, niece, and mother-in-law, all of whom happened to be in his home on the weekend of his birthday. He gave us lovely pashmina shawls, each of us a different, perfect color. He is that kind of man.
Back to Christmas. Our son's best friend E., who is like my other son, slept over and woke up with us on Christmas morning. He and my son have been brothers in spirit since before they could say their names. They don't know this world without one another. I think they may have been twins in a past life, or maybe they are soulmates. Their friendship is effortless and generous and full of humor. They've both grown into striking young men, my son's friend, who used to be the small scrawny one, even taller than my son at 6' 4". Both boys are handsome enough so that when my daughter's friends come over, they huddle in the back bedroom and squeal, then walk out serenely, as if no one heard them, full of 15-year-old composure.
E. is Muslim. And Jewish. His mother, Jewish by virtue of her mother being Jewish, was raised a Christian, then became a Buddhist, then chose to raise her sons in the Muslim faith. So Christmas isn't really observed in his home, but we fold him into the season anyway when he's in our home. We all had fun Christmas eve, wrapping gifts and sipping egg nog and swapping stories about any and everything. Wonderful stream of consciousness.
We all pulled in a nifty haul, given the economics of the time. My husband and I both gave each other Kindle e-readers. We'd each confided in our kids, who were highly amused by our unwitting synchronicity, and insisted we open our gifts to one another at the same time. We got our daughter her own Nikon SLR film camera, a 1984 model and she was thrilled. Our son wanted the iHome speakers, which I have to say, produce amazing sound. E. got one of those white intentionally rumpled college boy button down shirts that he wanted (he's a high school senior applying to college so he's trying out the look), and there were other smaller gifts to and from and among. And there was great comfort and banter. I paused at one point to be quietly mindful that the moment we were living was perfect.
My niece, the one who just moved into her own apartment in November after living with us since summer, and her boyfriend came over to have Christmas dinner with us. So did one of my aunts (the family friend kind of aunt) and her daughter (with whom I shared a room for several school years growing up--another story for another day). We all visited with my 91-year-old aunt for part of the afternoon since she wasn't feeling up to leaving home and coming over. In general, it was all very low stress, even though I managed to get overly stressed that the food wasn't ready on time. Why do I do that? No one cared. We sat around and watched movies (the new Harry Potter and Up), and when we did finally eat, everything was delicious. My son, who isn't home that much since he arrived for the holidays, stayed in all evening with his family, and everything was cheerful and laughter flowed easily, and it was so good to have all my ducklings home and happy. In all, it was a very good day.