Sunday, December 22, 2013


Christmas in our family is split between two families.  My side (The Ryans) celebrate (as I grew up doing) on Christmas Eve, the air filled with the smell of beans and tamales.  After dinner, Santa comes and then we all sing Christmas Carols. 

Mario’s family celebrates Christmas Day 45 minutes away from where I grew up.  The drive is easy and after Christmas breakfast, we head to Cindy’s.  There, we have home-made egg nogg and a sit down dinner with all the Christmas trimmings.

It is the in-between that makes the Christmas holidays special.

I love walking in to a house where people scream for joy just because we’ve arrived.  I love looking out the window when someone else arrives.  I love seeing the glittery hope and wonder of the season in my granddaughter’s eyes. 

I love the four generation pictures, the laughter, the hugs, the cacophony of nephews and nieces and all of the delicious visiting that takes place with everyone in between.

I love the smiles and hugs and the love our families share.  I love waking up Christmas morning and smelling my mom’s coffee.  Knowing that Mario’s stuffed a stocking for me like I’m still ten years old.

I love how our families know the reason for our holiday.  I love how we collectively celebrate the birth of Jesus.  I love how we love each other no matter what’s happened during the year.  I love the absolute forgiveness and joy in the season that we all share. 

I haven’t spent a lot on presents this year, I don’t have a new outfit.  But I get to bring salads to the gatherings because I live here now and I get to make the drive from our home here in Sacramento.

We also get to see the boys and their families!  Just after the 25th, Mario and I will trek out to Kansas City to see David and Lennae and the girls (Joe will join us).  After that, it’s off to New Mexico to see Vince and Rikki and celebrate there with gourmet food and the latest gaming system. We’ll squeal and shout with joy and live in and savor each moment. 

My heart longs for our Southern Hemisphere friends, too.  Portia is in Zimbabwe.  Debbie is Natal with her children.  Somewhere in South Africa, Lulu and Wouter will braai for whoever comes over. 

I miss my family in South Africa, but I am happier than I ever thought I could be to be home for the holidays.