Erin called Christmas morning. Although she is having a wonderful time and Mila has charmed (and is charmed by) her French and Italian relatives, this is the first Christmas in 31 years that our oldest daughter has not been home for Christmas, add to that the loss of her grandmother, and the conversation was part joy, part tears. Mila fell in love with her Italian (second cousins?) on another visit and played with "the kids" the entire time. Erin better have lots of pictures to share when they get back.
Chris and Amelia came for a late lunch at our house. It was a simpler lunch this year, and much smaller, but it went really smoothly and Fee and I really enjoyed the simplicity.
Then to Marty and Robin's for the last of the family gatherings. My Dad, Steve & Teresa & kids joined them for lunch and gift exchange. Since we had lunch at our house, we arrived late in the afternoon, but managed to get pics of Morgan (Cody's girl friend) & Cody, Morgan & Megan, and Katie, Marty, and Megan (in the hat that was part of her Christmas present from us).
Robin showed us her new "massive great big" camera and some of her photographs. She is really a talented photographer, and I'd love to have copies of some of the pictures she's taken of the kids and those of "the land" (some property Dad owns in the country). I'm more than a little embarrassed to see my photos, after seeing all of hers. Mine are images; hers are ART.
This Christmas has been both sad and joyful, a renewal of family ties, a period of recounting memories for ourselves and for our children. There have been days when I didn't want to do anything or even think about anything, Christmas related or otherwise, but thanks to a family support system, we have all emerged slightly stronger and more thoughtful than we would have imagined.