Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Near Disaster

Ever since my mom died in 1999, Christmas has been a bit different. We used to gather the whole family every Christmas at my parent's house. I am the oldest of four with two sisters and a brother. We are all married and three of us have children and we all live in the greater Seattle area. My parents had an enormous house with a big kitchen that easily accommodated the whole noisy bunch. My mom never really enjoyed cooking (I have inherited this tendency) so years ago my dad took over. He loves cooking especially if it involves kitchen gadgets. My mom loved all the other stuff involving Christmas; the tree, presents, decorating, and baking Norwegian cookies. They were wonderful family gatherings.

My mom collapsed just before Thanksgiving in 1998 and was diagnosed with a brain tumor and never really recognized any of us again. We gathered that Christmas in her room at the nursing home where she was receiving hospice care to exchange gifts. It seems a bit bizarre when I look back on it, but we were trying to maintain some normality. Mom passed away two months later in February. My dad did not want to carry on the tradition because I think Christmas is too painful for him. He takes his motorhome to Arizona before Thanksgiving every year and stays till spring. There's another long story here I'll tell another time.

I apologize for depressing anyone but I think it's been rather theraputic writing this.

So the four of us kids decided to continue gathering together every Thanksgiving and Christmas without Dad anyway. My brother and sister #1 will take turns hosting Thanksgiving ever other year. Sister #2 and I will host Christmas every other year. This year was my turn to host Christmas. However, it was as a near disaster when I woke up early Christmas morning (6:00 am) from the carbon monoxide detector going off (gets your heart started doesn't it?) Found out that it went off because we lost power! Shit! What to do? I have 15 people coming for dinner!!

Called sister #2 about 9:15 to let her know we had no power and she offered to have it at her house (even though her house was a mess - what a trooper). A half hour later the power went back on! Yay! So then it was a mad scramble. Bob and I decided at the last minute to move furniture around and borrow some chairs from our favorite neighbors (what was I thinking - I don't have enough chairs to seat 15 people to dinner).

Anyway, I cooked a spiral sliced ham and Bob grilled a turkey breast and Daughter cut up veggies and sliced cheese for the pre-dinner snackies. Family brought the rest. It was wild, noisy, and crazy. Sister #2 spilled a glass of RED wine on my carpet but thank God for stain resistant carpeting. Bob cleaned it up (with massive amounts of water and sucked up with the shop vac) and you can't even tell where it was. She was so apologetic. I told her - no worries - I'll do it at her house the next time I come visit :) I'm so glad that's over. But I have to do it again in two years. ::groan:: But it was lots of fun (even with my 5-year old nephew bouncing his new soccer ball off the walls - yikes).

Hope everyone had a nice holiday too!


CindyS said...

Renee - It's good that you and your siblings are able to still celebrate together. When my gram passed it was definitely a shock to lose the matriarch of the family. My father has stepped up but I think he has been surprised at how my Aunt Nora (his sister) and I are eager to keep and create new traditions.

Hopefully your father will one day be able to join you all and not feel the need to distance himself from his family.

All the best in the New Year


ReneeW said...

Thanks, Cindy. We have made new traditions but we still miss mom. I don't think my dad will ever really want to join in but eventually when his health prevents him from driving, he'll be forced to. Happy new year to you too.

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