If you have to be snowed in by a blizzard, I suppose the day after Christmas is the perfect day to be cocooned inside the house. After all, the house was filled with new goodies that provided lots of entertainment for the boys.
The boys spent a lot of time outdoors enjoying the deep snow. Caleb even helped shovel the sidewalk!
All the neighbor kids were outside and the boys never seemed to tire of the endless snowball fights.
Between outdoor play, they'd rush in for a while and warm frosty toes and hands.
We celebrated Christmas night at my parent's house. Three generations crowded around a Christmas tree packed with presents. With eager children, gifts preceded dinner with little ones opening presents first. Within minutes of the first unwrapping, Christmas carnage littered the floor: a flurry of torn wrapping paper, mangled tissue sheets, and discarded bows. We adults waited for the last child to unwrap her gift before diving into our own. A generous check. Fluffy bath towels. An emergency roadside kit.
Thoughtful. Kind. Appreciated.
As the unwrapping drew to a close, four gift bags still nestled under the tree. My Grandmother motioned me over and asked that I give one bag to each family present. After all the bags were distributed, we opened them in unison. Burrowed between the layers of tissue paper sat a handmade wooden cross perched on a small plank. It was flawless, smooth to the touch, and hinted at the fact that the craftsman exuded much care and energy to perfect the finished product.
We looked at my Grandmother for explanation and she motioned to Gus, her 93-year-old new husband (married in August). She announced that Gus had made the crosses as gifts for our family.
I was touched. There's something about a homemade gift that can't be replicated by a purchase from the store. Homemade gifts take time, thought, and effort and speak volumes about the value the giver places upon the givee.
I thought about Gus. Blending families later (much later) in life has its challenges. Gus's arrival into the family had some rough patches along the way. Change is hard, after all. But we all worked on carving out new relationships, smoothing over the imperfections, and crafting a truly beautiful, new finished product.
As I look at Gus's gift, I'm reminded that making something new requires energy and effort, but the finished product can be beautiful, just beautiful.