|Grace by Ruby|
|Nina by Ruby|
|Popcorn and cranberry strung on the tree|
|Santa brought me a little something|
|Craig and Lil at our local rink|
|Goodbye Nan and Pa|
So Christmas has come and gone and what a very lovely day it was. No one woke up at 5.00am, instead we had a leisurely morning opening presents and eating chocolates. Though I hadn't made a single gift for Christmas, the girls had. Ruby did the portraits above for Grace and Nina, which I think are wonderful, and wrote a story for Lily. Nina made a lemon slice for Ruby, and tiny bear for Lily and a pendant with a lucky penny for Grace. And Grace made Nina a mini laptop, wrote a book for Lily and made Ruby a line of joined cats. They were all simple things, made with what we had on hand, but I love that they did it without any pressure or expectation from us. I'd thought they'd probably give it miss this year, with our travels and all, but they didn't.
My creativity only extended to making pancakes for brunch. Afterwards we had a rest/nap on the couch while the girls played with their presents. Usually we either have a tribe coming over and a whole lot of cooking and getting ready to be done, or we are heading off to whoever is hosting Christmas and have to leave the house pretty early. I missed seeing all my family and the girls certainly missed their cousins, but it was nice to take the day as it came, without any need to rush. We didn't eat lunch till 3.00pm which was just fine, and then I went for a walk with the eldest three girls while Craig and his folk watched the basketball/dozed in front of the telly, and Lily pranced around in her special dress and entertained herself.
It all nearly came unstuck on our walk. Ruby had wanted a little time with me by herself, so when Nina and Grace came along too, we had a bad case of the sulky grumps. I'm ashamed to say I completely lost it with her, accusing her of 'ruining Christmas' which of course didn't help things at all. I had what I can only describe as an embarrassing tantrum in the darkened street and was pretty sure I had, in fact, ruined Christmas. Very undignified behaviour on my part and poor Ruby was in sobbing tears. We ended up both profusely apologising to each other. I'm always amazed and humbled at a child's capacity for forgiveness. It's something I hope I never take for granted.
Anyway we came home after a very frosty walk (temperature-wise, our moods had thawed) and had blueberry and pecan pies and our traditional ice-cream Christmas pudding. We didn't have violet crumbles, cherry ripes or peppermint crisps to put in, so we made do with a butterfinger, kit-kat and some peppermint candy. It was a bit odd, actually - Nina described it as 'like doing your teeth after having a peanut butter sandwich'. Dinner was chocolate and a bit of cold turkey. No one felt like going to bed so we stayed up late and chatted and watched the girls get silly and funny. It was a very special Christmas in all sorts of ways.
As I write this late on boxing day, none of us has even got out of our pyjamas. We've had bubble and squeak for breakfast, farewelled Nana and Pa who fly back to Australia today - they'll be nearly in Los Angeles now, played trivial pursuit, watched 'The Borrowers', enjoyed the snow fall in huge lumping flakes knowing that we didn't have to get anywhere in it, eaten more chocolate, cheese, ham, dips and decided the post-Christmas austerity can wait till tomorrow (or the day after). Grace has not taken off the raccoon hat she got for Christmas - she slept in it last night. It all feels a bit unreal and precious, as though we are on a little holiday from reality, tucked away in our warm and cosy corner of New England with not a care in the world. There are cares, of course, and obligations and responsibilities. But they can wait till tomorrow.