This year, we knew we'd be celebrating the holidays without Thomas, who would remain in China. With that in mind, I decided that it was time to do something totally different on Christmas day. I compiled a list of people who have been near and dear to us and invited them to join us for Christmas, knowing many would already have plans for the day. I also had a feeling that the number who would accept our invitation would be more than our house could comfortably hold.
I rented a building in our little town, which I knew would have plenty of space for the occassion.
As the responses to our invitation came in, I realized that this was definitely going to be a great day. I enjoyed the whole process of watching this "idea" materialize into a space with tables festivaly decorated for the special day. Everyone who was coming planned to bring a dish to share, so I knew food would be abundant.
As Christmas morning arrived, Larry and I arose quite early. Throughout the years, for some reason, we've always been awake and waiting for the children to appear. I don't quite understand it, but I know there's an undescribable love that causes parents to act this way.
Finally Ellen appears and because Thomas doesn't seem to be out there in cyberspace, we proceed with gift opening. The "other tradition" must be put on hold until we can find Thomas.
About an hour later, after making some last minute preparations for the day, Thomas appeared 'on line' and we were able to see and hear each other on skype. What a wonderful invention ! The 'other tradition', which I speak of, is many years of writing letters to Santa the night before Christmas. There was no need to write earlier, because especially as the children grew older, these letters were no longer about asking for gifts, but sharing their thoughts and experiences. The kids would make their appearance Christmas morning and immediately look for letters from Santa and Mrs. Claus. This year these letters arrived via email to and from Thomas.
For the next hour or so, thanks to skype, we felt like a family unit, being together on Christmas morning, reading Santa letters and 'catching up'; Thomas, sharing his amazing life in China and Ellen talking about her days at school and spending time with Josh, her fiance', who would be arriving here in a few days.
As the time drew closer for people to arrive, I realized how rich our life has been. This huge room slowly filled with an amazing group of wonderful people.
If it happens again, which I hope it will, I'll be truly amazed. For some reason it's difficult to repeat a magic moment where people from all walks of life come together in true respect for one another and have a great time. I think this is what happened and I loved it.