Christmas night and the day is done. It has been a wonderful day filled with warmth (both literally and figuratively, as Josh was out playing later on the trampoline with his shirt off...and THIS is Colorado on Christmas day! Not Fair!), family and friends. What a gift that we are not in turmoil as we were last year, with so many unknowns ahead.
I realized at the end of the day that I took only a couple of photos while the kids unwrapped their gifts this morning. We were awakened at a very comfortable 7:00 AM as all 5 traipsed into our room to wish us Merry Christmas and to beg us to pppuuuhhhlease get up so they could open their presents. We sat around the tree and watched as each opened a gift, and all 5 of the kids were delighted with what they received. It was less than what some kids get, but more than so many, and I am grateful that we didn't feel we had failed them as they graciously and excitedly embraced what they were given. By mid-afternoon we had a Lego house starting to be built (by Angela, not Matthew!), pretty little soaps in the making from Olesya's soap making kit, Kenny's dollhouse put together and being enjoyed, Matthew working on a roller coaster after having read a book on the World Wars, and Joshua asking to dissect a frog from a kit given to him by our friends. Yes folks, looks like I am in for more blood and guts as he has a worm, a frog and a few other lovely items to tear into...oh..I mean scientifically examine. :-)
As we returned home after a wonderful dinner and evening spent at our friends house, we were all sharing about our "best Christmas ever". The girls both said they would never forget this one, their first with their family. The boys all had a hard time recalling any particular Christmas, focusing instead on the overall impact of traditions...candlelight services, special ornaments on the tree, waking us up in the mornings...not a mention at all about particular gifts. It hit me that perhaps this was one of the reasons I never focus much on taking tons of holiday pictures on Christmas morning. It's never been about the gifts for us, that is just a small piece of the season. It is hard to encapsulate in a few photos the things that it really IS all about.
As parents, we tend to lose sight of what has the greatest impact. Is it the trip to Disneyworld? Or is it cuddling up in bed as you read stories together? Is it getting that new cool toy for Christmas? Or is it throwing pies at one another in the kitchen? For us I know one of our treasured memories will be playing Scattergories with our friends tonight and laughing up a storm with folks who also get what it is all about. The build up to the Big Events of Childhood in our minds are often the things that are remembered in the least detail by our children, and it is the things we think of as being of the least significance that create the most lasting memories.
And often, it is those more lasting memories that are harder to photograph. But then, the mental snapshots our kids take of those moments are better than any digital image we can capture.
If only we adults could truly grab that and internalize it.
So while today was definitely not "just any day" around the LaJoy house, and it was far less stressful than last year, it was not our "best day ever". Those days are far more ordinary. As wonderful as today really was, I think I like those ordinary days the best.
Merry Christmas Night to you all!