This has been a year of deep waiting. In 2019, as part of a pilgrimage team, we ended our journey in Assisi, Italy walking the medieval streets in the dark, unaware of what lay ahead in 2020. And yet, my husband and I have adapted to digital connections with some vigor. We work, we socialize, we keep the hope that someday will bring us back to handshakes, hugs, and the joys of gathering with all those we love.
As I write this, Christmas Eve with our children and grandchildren was defined by Zoom, a miracle and a curse of a vehicle to stay connected. We ate the same food, played the same games, and looked into each other's eyes with knowledge that this too shall pass.
We began a tradition years ago in our household. I make cookies and put them into tins for each of the children. On Christmas Eve, in order for them to receive their tins, each child must give me a list of the top ten things that happened to them in the year gone by.
This year was no different.
During our time together, gathered by our respective trees, our bellies full of tenderloin and scalloped potatoes, the reading began. From youngest to oldest, each one recounted what might have been scant good things in a year filled with chaos. But we celebrated and remembered the finer points of our year when the thin line of family held tight for us.
Commonalities in a step family brought smiles. Pre- and post-pandemic. We remembered gathering under our weeping cherry tree to celebrate 20 years of marriage in June. The Thanksgiving Day birth of our newest grandchild. Employment, and stability. Mostly, we celebrated being alive, having survived, and having the ability to somehow cobble together a night like the one we had last night.
As the twelve days of Christmas begin, I hope that ushering in a new year will birth wondrous things for each of you.