What a week it has been….emotional ups and downs…..tears of happiness and sadness.
Saturday was an emotional day. It started early with my mom’s arrival at the Pearson International Airport. I haven’t seen my mom since we were home in September when my dad passed away. I’ve called her almost weekly since then but a phone call doesn’t even come close to speaking with someone in person. We were all so excited when she told us she was coming to spend Christmas with us and started counting down the days as soon as we heard. 🙂
Mom’s flight was due to arrive on Saturday at 7:25 am. That’s a pretty early arrival for us since it’s about a 45 minute drive to the airport, but it’s an even earlier departure for her from New Brunswick. My brother Andrew, his wife Patricia and my niece Abby took her to Moncton on Friday night and booked in at a hotel since they are all about an hour from the airport there too. Her flight left at 6:00 am their time so she needed to be there by 5:30 am. We didn’t have to leave our house until about 6:30 pm so we slept in a bit compared to them.
Once we got to the airport we checked the board for her flight and saw that it was expected to arrive early….. 7:17 am….8 minutes earlier than scheduled, no doubt due to the strong winds. In the end it was still 7:25 am when the board read that it had arrived. You’re not actually supposed to go into the baggage area…..Security reasons I suppose….. but every time the doors slid open releasing a passenger who had already claimed their bags, I was craning my neck trying to look through the people in their waiting to see if I could catch a glimpse of her waiting for her bag. Of course I started looking long before she had even debarked from the plane but the board said it had arrived and therefore she must be in there somewhere! A few people were slipping in to the “controlled area” when the doors opened and I eventually told my husband I was going in on the next opening, and so I did. Once inside I tried to look inconspicuous so that I didn’t look suspicious and have “clipboard dude” escort me out of the area. I noticed a stack of bags sitting by a post so I nonchalantly wandered over and stood near them as if I was just waiting for my travelling companion to retrieve the rest of our baggage. Could have been a mistake…. unclaimed baggage in the airport….. not really where one should stand, and the owner of the bags was probably eyeing me wondering if I was trying to steal her belongings. Anyway nothing happened and it seemed to take forever for the Moncton passengers to get to the baggage area. You can always recognize the folks flying in from the Maritimes because they get off the plane with their “carry on lobster” in hand. That was my first clue that Mom should be coming along shortly, and then there she was coming down the escalator and headed my way. I smooshed her into a big hug (trying not to hurt her) and no matter how many times I tell myself I will not cry when I see her…..I am wrong…..I cry. Those are the tears of happiness. Now we just had to wait for her bag….that did take forever. Chris and I had been texting back and forth while I was waiting for Mom so once I let him know she was off the plane he came in to the baggage area to wait with us. We finally get her bag, paid for parking and headed home. I sent messages to people waiting to hear that we had retrieved the package (my mom) safe and sound and were headed on home. It was now around 8:30 am and we weren’t sure about Mom but we were starving so we stopped at Sunset Grill before arriving at home for our usual Saturday morning breakfast.
Once we got home we did not give Mom a chance to rest up as we still had some things to do since it was the Saturday before Christmas. Erika still had to finish start her shopping…..that’s right, our little procrastinator had not started her shopping yet. Well she had 2 gifts but only because I had picked them up for her. We took Erika to the mall to meet her friend Taylor who also had to finish her shopping and picked up Nick to take back to the house for a visit with his Nan. Chris and I then went back out to do a bit more running around while Mom and Nick spent some time together.
Around 3:00pm Erika arrived home from the Mall and was quite upset. While shopping she had received word that a friend of hers from school Eric Goegan was killed in a car accident that happened on Friday night. Teenagers tend not to see themselves with any kind of mortality, they live in the moment and they believe they will be around forever, so when this happens to someone they go to school with and are around every day with their whole life ahead of them it is a very difficult thing to deal with. Her tears were those of shock and sadness.
On Sunday morning Mom and I dropped Erika off at work and went to church. This was only my 3rd Sunday at this church and as we were hanging up our coats a kind gentleman introduced himself to us and asked if we would like to sit with him and his wife since we didn’t know anyone. Of course I said yes believing it to be impolite to refuse. We took our seats but it was evident that this was going to be a problem…..they were left hand side seats…..I’m a right hand side sitter. I always choose a seat on the right hand side, I don’t really know why but I assume it has something to do with my childhood and the Hughes Family always sat in a church pew on the right hand side of the church. I don’t ever remember sitting on the left or in the centre unless it was for a Sunday School concert or a wedding or a funeral. After the service I decided that next time I will just quietly slip in to the sanctuary and pick a seat on the right hand side…..small things. 🙂
Monday, Christmas Eve day, Chris and I both had to work so Erika and Nan spent the morning together. We got off work early, Chris much earlier than me, grabbed lunch at Swiss Chalet and then came home and I finished up my baking. I didn’t purposely leave it until the last minute, I’m not really a procrastinator, I just ran out of time. That night Mom, Erika, Chris and I all went to the Christmas Eve church service (we managed to find a seat on the right hand side so all was well) It was a good service, lots of familiar carols, some stories followed by a short message (the pastor had promised a 6 minute message and he held it pretty close to that). Even Erika was impressed by the keyboard player service, she is a little disappointed that she has to work Sunday morning and can’t go with us again.
I love Christmas Eve, probably even more than Christmas Day. Everything just seems calm and pretty with the gifts under the tree and the tree lights glowing in the dark and all of the preparations are finished and it is a time to sit and reflect. I could just sit and enjoy that feeling forever but we all know we have to go to bed eventually or Santa won’t come. 🙂
Opening the presents on Christmas Day was fun because it seemed to go on forever. Mom, Chris and I were up somewhere between 6:30 am and 7:00 am. Erika eventually rolled out of bed at 7:45 am and then we started handing out the gifts to open.
Once we finished we went to get Nick and brought him and his still unwrapped parcels to our place for more gift exchanging (once he finished wrapping them).
By this time we were getting Tom ready to go in the oven for our family dinner at supper time.
Shana was next to arrive with her presents and again we all did the gift exchange and opened more presents.
We snacked while waiting for Ryan and Whitney to arrive from her mother’s place. We didn’t want too much for lunch to be too full for turkey but we obviously had to eat something to avoid starving to death. Once they arrived we handed out gifts again and it seemed like we spent all day opening just because we did it all in stages.
Once dinner was ready we all sat down to a delicious (if I do say so myself) turkey dinner.
We all ate too much and then topped it off with dessert of raspberry cheesecake, something that has become a bit of a tradition in our family, Chris’ mom’s cheesecake recipe. It was great to have the whole family here for dinner and having Mom with us made it that much more special. The only flaw in the day….if there was one…..is that I, being camera happy as I am, did not think to get some pictures of all of us together. Hopefully there will be another opportunity before Mom heads back.
Everyone was up early on Boxing Day, well not everyone, Chris was up at 4:00 am to watch Team Canada in the World Juniors and was joined by Ryan and Nick who crawled out of their warm beds to drive to our place just to watch the game and then I assume returned to their beds after the big win. It’s obvious that we are not much in the way of hockey fans in this family (jokes). After that it was a lazy day for most of us except Erika who had to work. After lunch we enjoyed a nice visit with my dad’s cousin Myrtle and her sons Jim and Garth and Jim’s son and Garth’s daughters. Myrtle, Garth and the girls were heading back to Oshawa after spending Christmas with Jim and his family here in Guelph. It was agreed that Garth and I hadn’t seen each other since we were kids (early teens maybe) at my Nan’s place in Cody’s, so that was about 30 to 40 years ago.
Yesterday Chris was back to work but I had taken a couple of days off to spend with Mom so we mostly just sat around watching movies until around 4:00 pm when Mom thought a walk would be a good idea. I took the opportunity to join her so I could take a couple of pictures of the snow…..we get so little of it I wanted pictures as proof that we had some.
For dinner Mom and Chris and I went to Wendy’s as Chris thought he was about turkyed out.
Last night Erika and her friends went to the visitation together for their friend Eric. When she got home she told me it was the hardest thing she ever had to do. The only funeral experience she has had up to this point has been for grandparents and that is certainly a different atmosphere then it is for someone your own age.
This morning we had company again for another 4:00 am hockey game. Ryan and Nick were here once again to watch with Chris and this time Erika got up and joined them. I too was awake at 4:00 am and thought about joining them but then thought better of it and turned the TV on in our room and watched the game from the comfort of my nice warm bed….right up until the last 10 minutes anyway, before I fell asleep. It was still a win so I guess they didn’t need me to make it so.
Now Mom and I are just lazing around, Erika is still sleeping and Shana will be coming by to take her Nan out to lunch at the Keg for her Christmas present.
I may try to squeeze a nap in this afternoon while they are out but other than that I am going to enjoy a lazy day and try to do as little as possible. It has definitely been an eventful week but our visit with Mom is going by way to quickly.