On the 26th, we had big plans to go to see A Christmas Carol as a family. Instead, mother nature dumped a foot of snow on Oswego in record time and we decided against our limited movie theater travel plans. It was a gorgeous snowfall. The kids and dog got out to play in it and it seemed to never stop. When we made the call to stay home, we had a houseful of disgruntled kids (like that had any right on December 26th) and needed a plan of action.
Our first attempt was an on-demand purchase of Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. As Mike and I cackled outloud, the kids made faces at each other as if to say, "What's so funny about this?" About half-way through I had an idea. We pulled out twenty or thirty old video tapes of the past eight years and hooked the camera up to the TV for some home movies.
I had eight or so tapes that weren't labeled, so I grabbed those first. As soon as we popped one in, I knew I was in for it. I nearly sobbed through the first hour, so shocked at seeing how Logan and Riley had grown, marveling at Riley's two year old performance of "Kiss the Girl" and instantly recognizing the undeniable sweetness of Logan's personality that remains the same so many years later. Babies' births and first cereal feedings and bare feet in spring mud were all over the screen. We even saw Maggie, our fifteen year old cocker spaniel wearing the red sweater she needed to keep her warm that last year and Harley, and her enormous, loving presense. I couldn't move from the TV.
It's that old cliche "They grow up so fast!" But it's true. In an instant I knew that there were really only four people that mattered and I had no need to worry about anyone else or the holiday stress that buries all of us this season. We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying each other, the way we should every day.
On Sunday, Mike and I took the kids sledding. We had a ball, all of us diving in and sucking up the two hours of constant laughter and fun. For our finale, we went back to the car for some G-rated (as Mike put it) tailgating of hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. It was life as we want it, real "in the moment" stuff - traditions in the making.
As we move into 2010, a new decade, there are a few lessons learned from this one. First, we need a new camcorder - I can't support this new hobby with the hours of needed rewind time on the current model!! But seriously and most importantly, Mike and I will find ways to enjoy the short window we have with these amazing little blessings we call our kids, in spite of everything that's going on in life. Now that we've seen those videos, we know our time with them will surely be gone in the blink of an eye.