Well, here we are - its two days after Christmas - we are back in Virginia after a fun drive up I-85 along with 7 trillion others who had to be back at work today. My tree, unlit, is still standing in front of the window - all of a sudden I realize it is a bit tilted... surely it wasn't tilted the whole season! I am sure it is just tired! After all, it has been standing there for a month now... (will it stay another month?? maybe..) The manger scene is still above the fireplace, frozen in time. The presents are strewn about the living room and kitchen and bedroom where we either left them the night before traveling to Alabama, or where we dropped them when we returned last night around 11:00. I am snuggled on the couch, afraid to move too far or else my head might explode - for ya see - I have a niece, she is 19 months old and ABSOLUTELY adorable.
I got to spend a good bit of time with her this weekend - many times she offered to feed me the cheerios or chex cereal that she was eating, how could I resist??? Unfortunately, along with the dry cereal, she seems to have given me that little cold she had. On me though, it seems to not be a "little cold." It is a full blown deal... throat, head, eyes, nose, ears... the works. Due to this, there is no set date on when the house may return to normal!
We did have a wonderful Christmas. My first Christmas with my husband - and it was one to be remembered. He got that gun that I asked people for help about back a few months ago... I got a shiny necklace with diamonds and all that jazz... then the clothes, gift cards, electronics, and accesories filled the rest of our car to the brim as we were headed home.
We also had an emotional Christmas, with my little brother fighting the war away from the family. As mentioned the other day - the fact that he wasn't there left a tear on each face at different times of the day. The reality hit us all as we walked into the living room to see one stocking still hanging, and not filled to the brim with gifts.
His was left to be filled when he gets home. It hit again as mom opened a gift from Jen including pics of all of her kids and our families. Then, as Brantley opened her earrings sent from him... they were so beautiful - And as dad opened the gift from brantley - a flag picture frame with Jonathans picture in it - on the frame it said "Under God's protection." The tears took turns falling down each face. The magic of Christmas was ever present, but somehow dampened as we remember our brother who just five days earlier had missed an IED by 6 cars. We spent a great deal of time talking to him over the internet - and passed the phone around for 90 minutes on Christmas morning... Thank you to whoever sent him that card!
We are moving towards his return date now. We don't know when that will be - there are rumors, but I think we all fear getting too excited about rumors...
So, on to "normal" whatever that is. Back to work, back to cleaning... I leave you with one of my favorite lines from a Christmas song by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra - "If you want to arrange it, this world you can change it - if we could somehow make this Christmas thing last. By helping a neighbor, or even a stranger... to find who needs help, you need only to ask."