It’s Christmas morning and we are all in Ohio. We are at grandma’s house and it’s quiet, very quiet. The kids are still sleeping, Ivy is curled on her pad, and B is visiting her mother – grandma – at the care center on the other side of town. She’s been at the care center since late September after a very nasty fall.
We arrived late Tuesday evening and visited with grandma. It was good to see her and laugh and tease – I hadn’t seen her since mid-July when I last visited Ohio. She’s my favorite mother-in-law and she still has her wicked sense of humor and a great smile. It was good to see both in action again. B’s been home a couple of times to check in on her mom and square up the house as best she could. It’s been a tough year for B and her mother – first B’s older sister passed away and then her dad passed away two months later. Truth be told, it’s been difficult for all of us.
We are staying in grandma’s house – but she’s away and it seems a bit odd. There is no one to sip coffee with in the morning and it’s even quieter than normal – even with two noisy kids and a dog. Yesterday, I visited with grandma in the morning and again in the evening. She was restless and had a difficult time settling down after dinner. I had taken a book to read to her – a children’s book – Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914. Based on the true story of the truce on Christmas Day in 1914 when the British and German soldiers took the day to stop fighting and share the meaning of Christmas with one another. This being the centenary anniversary of the beginning of the war several books have been published as well as a British supermarket chain, Sainsbury, produced a controversial video advertisement about the truce.
I asked her if I could read her the story, she nodded, I pulled out the book, opened it, shared a little background about the truce and the war and then, I began reading and grandma calmed down, she listened and followed along and seemed to enjoy the story. I did my best read aloud voice for a picture book and showed each page to her and O. Reading aloud calmed her and when I finished reading, I pulled out the iPad and we watched the Sainsbury video together and we listened to the song “Stille Nacht.” The room was quiet and still.
When it was time, I bid her a good night and promised I’d return Christmas day. We will all visit her on Christmas – that’s probably what wears her out, our visits.
That night, we went to the Christmas Eve service at the Lutheran Church and sang hymns and heard the Christmas story all over again. The service finished with a candlelit sanctuary and singing “Silent Night.” It seemed fitting for me to be singing a German Christmas song in a German church a hundred years later.
When we walked out into the night, it was lightly raining and cold, but, thankfully, not cold enough for snow. It was silent and still and peaceful.
I am home now, W and I visited with grandma once more before leaving for home. W and I stopped at the cemetery to visit with grandpa before turning and driving home. W has wrestling this weekend and can’t miss practice or matches, so drove home Christmas evening. I had hoped to finish writing and post this Christmas morning, but time got away from me. It was a wonderful day spent with family and sharing – it’s how Christmas is meant to be. Making the Days Count, one day at a time.
I hope you had a Merry Christmas, I did.