Christmas

  • Dec 27, 2011
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Christmas morning gifts us with sparkling lights, dollies, stockings overflowing with chocolate, marzipan cake and banana cream pie for breakfast. But nothing, nothing compares to the sight of this boy smiling at us from Italy:

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We laughed as much as we talked, jostling for position in front of the screen, peppering Ben with questions and laughing again at everything, everything, everything.

After nine months and nine days, we finally heard his voice, saw him move and laugh and make goofy faces. And I don’t think I knew the weight of worry in my heart until it lifted at his words, “I’m so happy. I’m SO happy.” For seven months he’s been in a foreign country spending every day with strangers (many who wish he would just go home); letters are wonderful, but to see his face, to hear him laugh.. ahhhhhhhhh, I finally know that he’s OK.

I repeated his phrase the rest of the day: dancing in the kitchen, playing dolls and legos, hugging our friends at church, “I’m so happy. I’m SO happy.”

In some ways it seems cruel to limit phone calls/skype to twice a year, but the scarcity makes those calls so precious and all of us so precious to each other. My little family gathered round, laughing and talking with Ben, was truly all I wanted for Christmas.

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But of course we had other presents.

My wildly creative boys like to construct their own gifts– mid-December brings a flurry of wax, wood, nails and saws to my kitchen counter (“take that out to the porch!”) as they brainstorm over gift ideas. Wisely, I requested nice notes rather than a gift. When I suggested Dad might like heartfelt words of love rather than a wood and paint creation, Stefan scoffed, “At this point it’s not about what dad might want; it’s about what we want to make.” Hans nodded agreement while furiously eating Babybel cheeses simply to harvest the wax for candle making. Hmm, later when they inserted firecrackers in the candles and blew them up in the backyard, I think they’d abandoned all pretense of gift-making.

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A Mayan sword from Stefan– “because you’ve been reading about Mayan history.”

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A somewhat nice note from Xander and a homemade box from Hans. Hmm….

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Stefan was the proud recipient of a scarf from Xander and a Babybel candle from Hans.

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Clever little Mary created sock puppets for everyone.

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And you should have heard her shriek with delight when Xander presented a new doll bed, “It’s exactly what I need!”

Other gifts included a key to the city for Hans, pre-peeled clementines for me, drawings, a rubber band gun and a very interesting calendar.

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Happily for me, I still received sweet little notes– “Thanks for being so involved in my life.” “I love you so much you have no idea.” “I love the way you see the best in me.”

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Priorities: chocolate and legos.

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You can be a shepherd or a wise man in our Nativity, but the roles of Gabriel and Mary are taken.

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My Christmas day photos aren’t lovely by photographer’s standards– the light was terrible, images grainy, our hair messy, eyes out of focus…and yet to me they are beautiful.

You’ve heard William Vaughan’s words– “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a family all wrapped up in each other.”

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January 3, 2012

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10 Comments

  1. Reply

    Ang

    December 27, 2011

    I think the pictures are gorgeous! So light-dappled, so full of real emotion — they’re wonderful. And I’m thrilled to see a picture of YOU in the bunch. You look great. Merry Christmas!

  2. Reply

    ellen

    December 27, 2011

    Perfect.

  3. Reply

    Tracy

    December 27, 2011

    I thought about you all the whole day on Christmas…just knowing you would talk to Ben. Perfect.

    Also – pre-peeled clementines..truly a mom’s dream. LOVE.
    xo

  4. Reply

    Judi

    December 27, 2011

    my favorite two pictures…you and Mary. Your blue eyes are beautiful. The other one…the smiles on everyones faces as they gather around the laptop to skype with ben….everyone looks happy…oh So happy!!!

  5. Reply

    Claudia

    December 28, 2011

    Love this. Love your missionary. Love you!

  6. Reply

    Rachelle

    December 29, 2011

    Talking with Ben… priceless.

  7. Reply

    Mormon Women: Who We Are

    December 29, 2011

    Ben definitely has the missionary glow. So awesome.

  8. Reply

    Jeanelle

    December 29, 2011

    Like Ang, I love that there’s a picture of you in this entry. That made me almost as happy as the Ben pic. So glad you had a lovely day!

  9. Reply

    The Planet Pink

    January 1, 2012

    Sigh. So beautiful.

  10. Reply

    Jennifer

    January 3, 2012

    I’m the woman who gave the garbled introduction at Alta on Christmas Eve (and who probably didn’t make any sense…)

    I’m glad your time with Ben was sweet.

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