Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas with four generations

It has been wonderful and kind of insane having my whole family in town for Christmas. Most of them stayed in a one bedroom apartment that someone at my work uses when he's in town but didn't need for most of this month. We have been alternating between packing our whole family into that place for dinner (and the kids sleep on a pull out couch and the floor), and having them over to our place and packing out our little apartment and invading our roomate's space (they've been so gracious).

That is the craziness I expected. It got crazier when one set of grandparents (now great grandparents) decided they wanted to come join the family and meet their great-grandson. They're staying at a hotel but aren't comfortable driving around, so they're picked up each morning and shuttled around. Then my other grandpa decided he felt the same way, and he spontaneously decided (literally, this was just a few days ago) he would come down too (from Montana - note that we live in Texas), and so he hopped in his RV. He can't find new parking spaces for his RV each time we drive anywhere so he's also being shuttled around, as well as making frequent trips to his RV to feed and entertain his two hyperactive German Shorthair hunting dogs that travel with him.

So yeah, it's sort of insane. Especially when we're also adjusting to the rhythm of an infant's feeding and eating schedule, so I'm doing things like feeding Judah in restaurant bathrooms before we drive out to try to catch up with the rest of the family as we go driving to see Christmas lights.

It's also sort of amazing. I've gone four years without seeing my grandparents at some points in my past. I didn't know if my parents would meet their grandson this year, and so the fact that my whole family managed to make it here this December, AND all the grandparents came too? Truly amazing. A little stressful at moments, but amazing.

As I write it's the evening of Christmas, and today was pretty amazing. We brought out little Judah dressed in a Santa Claus outfit, one of the few things I actually bought for him (we were given so much!) months ago. My family filled the little apartment and the rounds of food and coffee and apple cider and gifts and stockings and pictures were so fun and festive. The precious moments, though, were the quiet hours in the morning when we gathered around and read the Christmas story and talk. My family has a tradition of giving "gifts for Jesus", of something we wish to "give" to him in our lives this year. It's usually more of a New Years resolution-ish thing, but something that we want to work on in our lives this year for His glory and in obedience to Him. This is special, because you always see amazing things in what God is doing in each of our family members' hearts, and I'm always so humbled by the quiet faith that is in my whole family, from parents on down. This year, of course, I get teary very easily over the Christmas story, because what childbirth and a newborn baby is like is very real to us right now, and the fact that we celebrate the birth of a baby that is the Messiah, God incarnate.... as a baby like my Judah... it is surreal.
Having my grandparents here was extra-special. They've never taken part in this little ritual with us, and honestly sometimes I think that our family is kinda crazy compared to my grandparent's and extended family's regular American lives. And yet.... my one grampa spoke up and barely got through talking about how precious it is to them to be with family, and how proud they are of us before he was overwhelmed by tears. This is a self-made man that my dad didn't see cry in his entire childhood - it's amazing how age brings a sort of childlike tenderness sometimes. My other grampa is an independent, brusque outdoors man, and it meant a lot that he came here at all. Then to see him get emotional as he talked about how lonely the holidays have been since my grama died.... and to see him just quietly BE with our family.... so special. And my grama, to watch her hold her great grandson with such great delight and wonder....

As the four generations interact, we've discovered that Isaac and I both had great grandparents that immigrated to Canada, took the train to the end of the line and settled in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, and then moved to the US. How crazy is that? Of all places, Moosejaw. It turns out both sets of Grandparents met in college, got married the same year, had their first kid two years later, and had four kids in all. Weird, right? Turns out neither set of grandparents really remember how he proposed! That really cracks me up - are proposals a much bigger deal nowadays?

In any case, I wanted to take my first quiet moment in a long time to write about this, because in the future I'll look back and remember what it was like to have this first Christmas with my son, AND to have my three grandparents here. I'm so glad we're taking pictures, and one day Judah and his siblings can look and them and we can tell the stories of this Christmas in a tiny apartment with all the quirks of generations interacting.

1 comment:

Camels & Chocolate said...

Wow, how cool that you have so many generations represented! And that Peanut gets to meet so many of his great-grandparents. Between Scott and me, we only have one grandparent left =(