This is the weekend before Christmas. I am sitting at a white counter with the lights off in the kitchen. A woman, a very busy woman who raised five children, is cleaning the kitchen as she feeds grandchildren and makes plans with her husband. She is elated at the prospect of having her children under one roof soon.
I am sitting her watching my daughter jump at the grandmother's feet. My other daughter is sitting on the stool next to me, spinning around back and forth, forth and back... waiting. Waiting for Christmas. Waiting for her cousins. Waiting for the chaos and camaraderie that comes with cousins.
It must have been the lights being off and the grandmother multitasking-- or the white counter. Maybe the stools, or the fact that is the weekend before Christmas and our family is coming together to celebrate Christmas. Whatever it is, I am watching my daughters with such love knowing the excitement that is in their heart. To hear my grandmother say in the afternoon, "Kitchen's closed," and move onto the next part of her day with us-- that's the moment I remember.
There was never an exception, the weekend before Christmas, we got in the family sleigh and headed up I-20 to spend the weekend with my cousins, aunts, and grandparents. We would be in a 1200 square foot house with two small bathrooms. Nine people would be under one roof for two nights-- at the peak, there would be almost 20 people on the green carpet, sitting around the white counter as my grandfather made beef tenderloin and the children ran in and out from the driveway to the backyard and back again.
We were a big Catholic herd coming together in the tiny house that raised those five children. I miss those days, I miss being together with my mom's family. It seems we all come together for weddings and funerals now. But, we are a new generation- I am no longer the daughter, I am the mother.
My daughter gets to experience the family holidays now- she gets to be part of the Protestant herd running in from the front door and out the back door. It's amazing to watch traditions evolve.
I can't keep down this memory lane. It's making me whimsical and wistful. The family is heading into town. And the kitchen needs to open up for supper.