Sunday, mom’s family came to visit us. In fact, J.B., Erika and my nieces beat us home from church where Mom, Dad and I had been ushers. We also got to visit with the adorable Auchenbach family. Too cute.
Anyway, this time my nieces both immediately remembered me and gave me big hugs. We went down to the basement to sit around the tree and open our stockings and presents. Everyone liked their gifts. It was the most fun, probably, to see the looks on Brooke and Courtney’s faces as they opened their presents.
Over the summer, I got their family Enchanted, because I thought the kids and adults could all enjoy it. The girls really took to the movie, so I got them dolls depicting the main character, Giselle. I also found little Disney princesses with carriages. Mom and Dad got them a Barbie car, fairies from the Tinkerbelle movie and books. I usually go for books, but Perry is a better source of toys than books, for some reason.
That said, the girls loved their toys. We had some lunch. Mom served vegetable beef soup, chili, chicken noodle soup, and black bean chicken. Mom is such a good cook! Courtney was brave about trying new things. Brooke tried new foods, too…partly out of bravery and partly out of a competitive spirit. The girls were nervous that the boys would try to play with their toys. We assured them it wouldn’t be a problem, but sure enough, the boys were enticed by the girls’ dollies.
Once my aunt, uncle, cousins, cousins-in-law and their little boys came over, Mom and Dad showed the kids the musical Christmas carousel, Santa’s Marching Bell Band, and the player piano. They were big hits. I discovered that little Logan loves Bing Crosby, so I quickly burned him a CD. The toddler was mesmerized, and pushed play on the CD player every time the disc ended. Jenny and Megan’s little boys are so cute, and both girls are expecting again. Visiting with family always makes me simultaneously appreciate my free time and adventures, and admire their happy marriages and cute babies.
Monday I finally got a chance to visit Karen and Lynn’s house. My car was stuck in a snow drift, so I had to take Mom’s car. Lynn wasn’t home, but I got to visit with Karen, Hannah and Connor. I always have fun when I see them. Hannah showed me her newest kitten (Sunny, Sir Fluffenstein, I think.) Then I got to see Unkie and Helen. They took care of me when Mom needed surgery just after I was born, and it created a special bond between us. Helen’s sick, so I didn’t want to wear out my welcome. I admired their gorgeous Christmas tree and exchanged hugs and kisses. I quickly fed the sheep. Then, as I tried to leave, I discovered my car was stuck on the ice. I couldn’t budge it.
It took Unkie and I with shovels, then taking turns steering and pushing, to dislodge it. I don’t know how long we struggled with the darn thing. “Unkie,” I admonished, “Don’t hurt yourself. I would feel so bad.” “You should,” he replied with a teasing tone. When the car was free, he informed me it was the most exercise he’d gotten in quite a while. Once I got the car back to my parent’s farm, I opened the garage door and gunned it up the hill. (If you slow down, you lose momentum, and you’ll never make it.) But then I got scared that I’d slide on the ice and knock of a side mirror, so I put the darn think in park. “You know what? I’ve already had two stuck cars today. I’m out. I’m done. I’m not pushing my luck.” Mom laughed, told me that was fine and brought in the car for me. Thanks, Mom.
I had an awful headache that night…the worst I could remember. I wanted to weep, it hurt so much. Mom thought it was because Helen is so sick. I’d felt shock and grief at seeing her so weak, but I didn’t want to show it in front of her or Unkie. The stress of holding it in caused the intense pain. I’d forgotten that my body does that. I tried to acknowledge it and cry it out. Tears flowed, but the pain stayed and stayed. What more can I do? How do I let this pain happen, then let it go?