Christmas was officially one month ago, and I’m only now getting up to posting pictures and a few antidotes, but that’s okay; 2013 is my year not to worry over the little things.
Our first Christmas together was splendid. We safely made the four hour drive home to Fargo on iced-over highways and snow-covered hills with little Aya and Christmas presents safely in tow. Once in town, we stayed at my lovely in-laws’ home, but divided our time between my sister-in-law’s, my family, and his. In the process, I got my cuteness fix from my darling twin baby sisters, sweet little nieces, and naughty little nephew, Cooper, who is somehow a mini replica of my husband, Brady. To top it off, my younger sister surprised my family with a wiggling golden retriever puppy named ‘Winston.’
We celebrated the birth of our Savior on Christmas Eve with my in-laws, attending the Christmas Eve service at Good Shepherd Church where my father-in-law sang O Holy Night a capella as the service began. When everyone in the sanctuary held lighted candles towards the stain-glass window, it felt like Christmas and I felt dizzily blessed by it all. We returned to my in-laws for homemade Christmas goodies, wine, cranberry cake, and wonderful company. Cooper provided the evening’s entertainment as he opened his gifts along with any others below the tree. Whether Coop opened a race track or a woman’s sweater, he was equally pleased with his skillful unwrapping. The next morning, Brady and I had the pleasure of being woken up by Coop dressed as a pirate shouting ‘My presents! My presents!’
Christmas morning was celebrated over caramel rolls, coffee and gift-opening at my parents. Brady and I were spoiled with a beautiful handmade map made by my older sister, Maria, detailing our world travels with the quote ‘Love is the shortest distance between two hearts’ embroidered in the corner.
After breakfast we made our way to my favorite place in the world: Grandpa and Grandma Gotta’s on Pelican Lake. At twenty-four, I treasure every moment I have with my Grandparents, and Christmas Day was no different. Grandma Gotta, in her usual fashion, had transformed the lake into the epitome of Christmas cheer: the tree was a magical collection of unique ornaments gathered over her fifty plus years of marriage; the nativity set painted with her own hands rested in its usual place in the kitchen, and Pelican itself was covered in a fresh blanket of blue-white snow.
Over dinner I learned my Grandpa as a little boy was neighbors with Al Capone’s brother. I realized for the thousandth time that my family is happiest at the lake; and remembered as I held Winston’s fluffy warmth that there is always room for one more.
That’s all for now.