Group Hug

It was many moons ago, early Christmas morning…  Casey had gotten called in to work as an unexpectedly heavy snow fell.  I was unable to go back to sleep after he left, so I got up and had a cup of coffee and watched the fat, fluffy,  flakes falling softly, outlining the landscape outside…  At about 6am, a couple cups of coffee under my belt, I piled into the car and drove carefully up the street to my mom and dad’s house, where the lights were blazing and the two of them were about the business of making Christmas.  (my kids were past Santa, and of an age where they could easily have slept all day)

Inside Mom and Daddy’s house, the oven was warm, the tree was lit, Christmas music from the local fogey channel was playing softly.  I joined right in, peeling potatoes, chopping celery, stopping for ciggie breaks and conversation.  I don’t remember what we talked about, or whether it was a ham or turkey, (though probably it was ham with that weird sauce she used to fix).  I don’t even remember what year it was, just that it was happy.

As I went to leave, a couple of hours later, Mom said, “I think this is how Christmas is supposed to be”.  and I laughed and said, “I do, too”.  Daddy was standing over by the door, and he put his arms out and said, “Group Hug”.  Mom and I fell into him, all of us holding onto each other and squeezing;  I said, “I love you guys” and Mom said, “Love you, too, Jody” and Daddy said, “Love”…   We all laughed as we un-hugged, (and Daddy pulled my ears) and I went out to my car warm and mellow.

The snow had stopped, leaving the world looking like a Currier & Ives Christmas card.

(currier & ives, in case you never heard of them)

Quietly, I drove the short distance back, full of the love from that hug, wondering at the beauty of the snow-covered world, feeling like I owned it.

That hug still warms me today. Daddy’s been gone 18 years, Mom 13, but that memory is like a movie I watch again and again, as real as my dreams.   There is no group here to hug today, but very soon we will all be together and there will be some mega-hugging going on.

Till then, do me a favor, will you?  Have yourself a merry Group-Hug today;  hold each other tight.  Give your loved ones a memory that will warm them 20+ years later.

Merry Christmas, friends.  Have a happy.

Catching my breath…

It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I last blogged, and I feel a little guilty.  Facebook friends got to follow along on my Adventures in NYC, but here’s a review for my blog-friends:::

Thursday morning, 4:30am, drove through fog to drop off the car at Nashville airport.  Arrived LaGuardia 9:15 and made friends with the cab driver as we made the 20-minute drive to the Jose’ Casa.  That was probably the shortest (and cheapest) taxi ride of the whole trip.  Melissa and I headed over to the Dry Bar around noon and got ourselves all curled and blown, then picked up the kids from school and had supper.  Emma’s school Christmas program was at 7pm and it was delightful, as was the company at Cavatappo after the show.  Friday morning, Eric was off to chemo and Melissa had a photography job, so I got the kids off to school.  They only had a half-day, so I picked them up at noon.  I tried, really, to get Eliza to take a nap, as she has slept through the last 2 Rockettes shows, but Eliza was Not Tired.  We grabbed a cab to Radio City Music Hall, traffic was horrible, but we got there early enough to get our cotton candy/hats, and a picture with a Rockette (no line).  Eliza fell asleep at her usual time, just before the wooden soldiers…  Maybe next year.  Saturday was free, so we made movies, danced, and played the cupcake game.  That evening, Melissa, Emma, and I went to Lord of the Dance, Michael Flatley’s last hurrah, or so he says.  Emma’s Irish Dance School had bought a group of tickets, so we met up for some drinks and food first.  The show was a little strange, kind of like Captain Eo, only less coherent;  the dancing, was superlative.  When Flatley appeared, as an “encore”, it was exhilarating.  We finished off the evening at the Heartland Brewery and took the loooongessst cab ride ever…honestly…home.  Sunday at 9am we had breakfast with Santa—more good company, and Eliza had a dance performance at noon…   Whew!  Sunday afternoon was about being together and Melissa fixed a fine meal.  I was up and out of there at 7am Monday for a 8:45am flight.  I noticed a little fog as we crossed the Triboro bridge (or whatever they call it now), but there was actually a Lot of fog.  8:45 flight cancelled, put on a 10:20 flight that included a stop in DC.  That one was cancelled and I got a flight out for 1:45.  They shuttled me to a different terminal and I hunkered down.   That flight was delayed, first to 2:30, the 3:20, finally 3:50.  I made some friends at the gate, then moseyed over to the bar and made a couple more.  We finally got out at 4:15 and I was conked out before we were in the air.  I woke up about a half-hour before landing collected my duds, picked up the car, and drove home.  I made record time driving, stopped a got a burger, and collapsed into bed by 10pm.

I hope you appreciate that I do all my own stunts…

The week after Eric has chemo (he has it every 3 weeks), he’s a little winded…to put it lightly.  He made it to all the kids’ performances, but deservedly rested as much as possible.   I do have some pictures of the entire family, but can’t seem to get them off of my phone…

I spent Tuesday getting back my land-legs, babysat Samantha on Wednesday, caught up with housework and errands on Thursday, bought the grandkids’ presents on Friday, got the snail-mail cards sent off today.  Now, are you sufficiently impressed?

Melissa and her family will be here the evening of the 26th, God-willing-and-the creeks-don’t-rise…  I am so grateful to have my family all together—twice in one year!!   Till then, let the baking begin…