Last weekend, I arrived back in Oklahoma after having been home in San Antonio for 10 days. I had brought my gifts with me, saving myself from having to run around like a crazy person getting last-minute Christmas presents. Granted, all my gifts were unwrapped but the day after I flew in, I turned on some Christmas tunes and got busy. My parents’ had gotten a tree and my Mom even made the time for her snow scene under the tree that she has done basically since she was a kid.
Christmas Eve was soon upon us and we made our way to my sister’s house. As I pulled up to her house, my nephews helped us unload. Once the gifts were around their tree, one nephew immediately started making a note of how many gifts each sibling had. Shockingly, the kids were antsy to open presents but had to wait until we were done with dinner. They finally got the go-ahead to distribute the various gifts to appropriate recipient. Even though the adults (including me) had gifts to open, our focus was on the 5 little people. I loved seeing their eyes light up as they ripped open their presents, excited to see what they got. Now sure, Christmas isn’t supposed to be about presents. To me, it’s about something bigger than presents….it’s being around family. It’s appreciating why we’re on this earth. It’s about realizing what was given up for us to have this life. The idea of Christmas has always been too commercialized. Will we ever put a stop to that….sadly, probably not.
Christmas was just one part of my visit, though. The day after Christmas, I had dinner with grammar school classmates and teachers. It was something that had been planned for a few months. 20 years ago, I was the quiet girl who talked when I was called upon and went with the flow….now, I’m the one organizing reunions. I love it though. I was encouraged/nagged by my former teachers to get something planned. Thanks to today’s technology, it really wasn’t much work. Those who were able to make it had a great time and I walked away from it very glad to have made it happen. We laughed while reminiscing about the ‘old days,’ took pictures to cherish the moment and then hugged good-bye. Earlier in the day, though, most of us learned that we lost ‘one of our own’ so to speak. A classmate’s father had passed away two days ago. So 5 days after our ‘reunion,’ many familiar faces were all gathering in support of a classmate and his family. My classmate’s mother happened to be our grammar school principal. So, as odd as it sounds, for a few moments at the rosary, she was able to smile and hug former students and colleagues she maybe hadn’t seen in a while. I loved that so many had come to show their support. It was almost like a mini-reunion in and of itself. The bond our class has and the bond we share with classmates above and below our class year including their parents is a very strong one. Our parents sacrificed and we are blessed with lifelong friendships because of that.