My what a difference a year makes! Last year on Christmas Eve, we attended one of the few church services offered in Shanghai after a lovely dinner at Lost Heaven with our son James while our daughter Hannah was pregnant and oh so far away in Boise enjoying a quiet holiday with her husband Mike. Fast forward to 2014 and a baby has been born changing all our lives forever. Welcome Mia to your first Christmas Eve with your Nai Nai!
Hannah graciously shared Mia with us this week so we could get to know our girl. We also enjoyed staying in the house we bought in Boise but had rarely used. It’s filled with all our stuff and since we have been waiting for two months for our China accumulated belongs to arrive from literally a slow boat from China, it was really nice and comforting to see the Broadway posters from our NYC life and the Black Keys/One Republic posters from our Seattle life hanging on the walls. While I try to not care about material things, living out of a suitcase for months on end does grow old at times….. at least until the next adventure comes around!
Back to Christmas! This year we are in Boise, it’s snowing hard and we have started new traditions. When the kids were growing up, I normally worked Christmas Eve, being in retail, and the kids would join me at work to hand out candy canes to everyone and then we would eat out and go to church services, coming home to the new pj’s that the elves had laid out carefully on the their beds. Now that I have a different type of job, we were able to enjoy volunteering today at Mike’s job, the Idaho Food Bank. Stuffing frozen green beans into bags so they could be distributed, it was a gentle reminder to once again count our blessings and make sure we find time in our hectic schedule to help others not so fortunate as we are. Indeed, we are blessed.
After quickly wrapping a few gifts, we headed out to dinner (all the meat you can eat!) and then a neighborhood church where the pastor quoted David Brooks from the NY Times so, of course, we loved her. Home to elf-provided pj’s (tradition lives on in Boise!) and a trip through the snow to our lovely cottage while Hannah and Mike continued the Christmas Eve wrapping of presents tradition that we did for so many years for the kids, I’m enjoying a glass of wine and not feeling too sad that all our gifts are already wrapped. Sorry kids!
No doubt we miss China and the adventures we had there and the wonderful people we met. But new adventures await and, while there will be gifts exchanged tomorrow, the biggest gift of all is being all together as a family after a separation last year and celebrating the birth of babies–one many, many years ago and more recently, the smartest most beautiful girl in the world, our Mia. Merry, merry Christmas to all!