It’s the moments, not the things, that make Christmas

By Joanne Peterson | Dec 24, 2013

It isn’t Christmas yet, as I write this. I’ve spent the day feeling as if Christmas came early. What was so special about this day? My daughter and her two children, Adam and Abby, came to Edmonds for the afternoon. It isn’t often they are free to spend a Saturday afternoon in Edmonds, but today, a few days before I’ll be celebrating Christmas with them in their home, Lisa and her children came to visit.

I initially invited Lisa for a mother-daughter day, thinking that the children could spend a few hours with their dad. I was thinking Lisa and I would have lunch at Arnie’s, wander through the shops of Edmonds, and end up with a cozy visit in my home, surrounded by my Christmas lights and decorations.

But Eric, Lisa’s husband, wasn’t available for a day with the kids. Eric planned a day in Olympia visiting a man who for many years was his scoutmaster; the man had flown in to see his daughter, and Eric took the opportunity to go visit the now elderly and ailing man.

This is totally off the subject, but I do believe my son-in-law is better at maintaining and nurturing friendships than anyone else I know.  With my failure to call my dearest friends with any regularity, I feel a sharp contrast with Eric, who stays connected to countless people. I admire him for that trait, as I admire him for his natural skills at parenting.

This was a man who never held a baby until his son Adam was born. I’ll never forget whispering to Eric that day, as he sat cradling his brand new first child in his arms, “Could I hold him?” Eric did not take his eyes from Adam’s face. He simply said, quietly, unapologetically, “No.”

Too lost in wonder to share his child with the baby’s grandmother, he simply could not let go. As much as I wanted to hold that baby, I was captivated by Eric’s amazing moments with Adam.

But back to today:  Instead of that tranquil lunch at Arnie’s, Lisa and I shared a raucous time at Hamburger Harry’s with Adam and Abby—not yet 5 and not quite 3--and Uncle Warren, who is NOT raucous.  Adam brought to the restaurant (in his “Cars” backpack) what appeared to be at least 27 Matchbox cars, and Abby brought (in her somewhat smaller “Hello Kitty” backpack) a handful of Matchbox cars—apparently lifted from her brother’s collection, as he noticed as soon as she off-loaded them onto the table.

A Moment ensued:  Tears. Words. Wails. But they rallied, calmed, and ate grilled cheese and munched on sweet potato fries.

After lunch, Uncle Warren (probably exhausted) headed home, and the rest of us walked through town, eventually ending up at Red Petal Cupcakes on Main Street for a semi-raucous time there.  Finally, we walked back to Grandma’s place, where Lisa and I sat on the couch chatting, while Abby and Adam played near the Christmas tree.  Perfect.

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