Home for the Holidays: Perfect Traditions
Twirling brown strands of hair through her fingers, Beth looked at her ring as she explained, "The thing is, I’ve been thinking it over, Cal. You're right. I wasn't going to, but I should be out at the farm with the family." Their call couldn't last long, but she wanted him to know.
"It's more than that your folks are going to be there. It's that going home for the holidays is a gift not everyone gets to enjoy," Beth told Cal. She had been considering what he told her the last time they talked and she knew it was important to him.
"Even though you can't be there this year, it's true that we never know when it will be the last time everyone else will be together. Going home for Christmas is the stuff of family traditions you and I want to continue so I know I should take advantage of this chance. Though your work means circumstances aren't always going to be ideal, we should make the most of what we do have.
"I really do want to go on out to the farm after all, even though you’ll still be so far away." She paused to keep from crying, then swallowed hard, "Since you're over there for so long this time that is going to be my best plan, and I do need to be there with my parents. Getting ready for everyone who is able to come will be a special time with Mom and Dad."
Cal smiled to himself as she went on. Her excitement was building and that warmed his heart as much as the sound of her voice.
The slight giggle in her voice brightened him even more, "Listening to them bustling around from up in my pepto-pink room, I’ll know exactly when Dad opens the back door to feed the cat and just when Mom opens the oven door to put in her biscuits. Their strong coffee will rouse me, and while we eat breakfast that first morning it’ll be fun to watch them finish plans for the biggest day. Only Mom cooks the turkey for that event. I won’t even offer!
"Just my two sisters and their families will come the week before Christmas. Our brothers can’t come until Christmas Day because they travel so far, but they will all get to stay almost two weeks. Their families are going to be over in the old cabin sleeping snuggly together in front of a wood fire every night, but they’ll help out every day.
"Anyway, Mom’s delight is to have her big get-together on New Year’s Day. She loves it that the whole clan has that to look forward to after Christmas has come and gone. All the other relatives will bring their own specialties–family favorites–each one with a detailed biography, coming from all over the place.
"Mom’s forte is being the hostess with everything going smoothly. She’ll be sad that you’re not with us, though. I’ll get there in time to help her have everything shining clean and to make their decorations flow like fountains. She likes that I’m an architect.
"Dad and I will be Mom’s busy bees starting Thanksgiving weekend. She’ll keep the coffee pot full and we’ll follow her designing plans together." Her chattering came faster now, "I know, I’ll always be his little girl, but soon you and I will belong to each other! Just think, Cal--early spring!"
He could see her bouncing on her tiptoes when she said those words and it took all his resolve not to let her know how deeply the sight touched him at that moment, not wanting to alter her rising spirits in any way.
Beth's thoughts were racing forward now, "I’m so glad your parents are coming. Having had just you, I hope they won’t be overwhelmed with everyone in my family. We’ll all work hard to make sure they are comfortable, I promise, and they’ll have everything they need. They are such dears! But how could they not be to have raised a son like you?!"
"You're sure it won't be too much for your parents?" Cal asked. He knew the answer, but he wanted her to keep talking. Hearing more about it would make him feel closer to all the celebrating while he was gone.
"Of course not, and I’m sure Mom is using this holiday season’s decorating to practice for the wedding. She'll enjoy talking it all out with your mom. Don’t tease--you’re going to miss all the fuss! She’s planning some beautiful tables, even the children’s are going to be very stylish.
"Early on New Year's Day we'll have the yearly introductions of new family members–from newly weds to newborns. At least you’ll be the star of it all next year! Dad is already working on his annual challenge from Scripture for the family. I think he said he’s using MacArthur’s new book Slave to help him with his theme. I might try to read it beforehand.
"Then there will be games for all the kids, with awards at the end of the day. Mom always focuses the awards on character traits first. Skill takes second place in her book. She also has Dad building a small photography studio to be set up by the barn so families can have as many pictures as they want with each other. If it doesn’t snow Dad won’t sit still until he gets a snow machine for it, but that’ll make for noisy videoing outdoors!
"Mom won’t cook anything except the turkeys that weekend. Her real goal is to fill all the nooks and crannies of the farm with her perfect traditions. Oh, Cal, I'm just chattering on, but I can’t wait until you are a permanent tradition in our family, just like I will be in yours!"
A Thanksgiving Song!
Music for your Christmas meditation:
More For Your Holidays:
- Christmas Music of John Rutter
Words like “talented” must be preceded with “breathtakingly” in order to do justice to John Rutter's Christmas music.
By postponing our Thanksgiving, we felt oddly apart from the rest of our country that Thursday. Thanksgiving Day, however, proved to make a point!
- Keeping Your Holiday Job: Merry Christmas or Not?
Sharing the traditional phrase "Merry Christmas" on the job can be an interesting experience. Such a simple greeting said with kind sincerity can provoke a whirlwind. What do you think about this true situation?
- Smoked Turkey: How and Why
For all my focus on healthy eating habits, smoked turkey is my not-necessarily-so-healthy specialty during the holidays.
A delightful Christmas snowglobe!
Choose Your Favorite :)
Check out the other story titles from this Home for the Holidays series in the links below:
• Fostering Care -- Home for the Holidays, Number 8On Christmas Day our gifts were nice, yet, that day I realized that no present on earth could ever equal what being accepted as one of their family members meant to me.
• Christmas Fudge -- Home for the Holidays, Number 6Mom’s delight is to have her big get-together on New Year’s Day. She loves it that the whole clan has that to look forward to after Christmas has come and gone.
• The Favor -- Home for the Holidays, Number 5There’s a small river between the woods and the main field that I want to get reacquainted with. He and I are old friends, and I need to hear his voice again.
• A Holiday Respite -- Home for the Holidays, Number 4
I’ll close my eyes in the safest place on earth, and open them again to familiar sights in the morning's light. Everything on this side of the world will be behind me--for a little while.
• The Gift of a Lifetime -- Home for the Holidays, Number 3Adam told her he had been listening to the children breathe as they slept. A snow-bound house full of children and grandchildren was just what he and Angie needed to give them the merry Christmas they wished for.
• Grandpa's House -- Home for the Holidays, Number 2
He’ll settle you around his tree by the fireplace. The gifts will be spilling out everywhere, but he won’t say a word about them.
• A Change of Plans -- Home for the Holidays, Number 1
Friends who used to run the groves and fields with me will show up. Some of them, anyway. Those who won’t be there, well, they’ll still be there.