This was to be my first Christmas spent away from my family…key word was.
Luckily, I hadn’t done anything terrible this year, so I called in a favor to my friend Saint Nick. Nursing is the sort of job that doesn’t end because it’s a holiday, so I was fully prepared to spend my favorite day with some awesome co-workers, but like I said….Christmas Miracle, I had a string of days off! Naturally, I decided to fly home and surprise my family. With Julia as an accomplice, the plan was set. Ticket? Check. Leave forms submitted? Check. Texas-themed gifts? Triple check.
The Christmas spirit was so alive within my soul that not even an angry baby or old man snorer in my row could mar the childish excitement.
“HO HO HO!” I yelled, after ringing my parents’ front door. Joey laughed, Mom screamed, Dad thought a murderer had broken in after mom screamed, and came rushing in. Yes, there were tears.
But the moment I realized the importance of family and being together was at dinner that night. Grammy and Grandpa had rolled in a few minutes after my surprise, and at dinner said something I will never forget.
“Your Grammy and I were talking,” Grandpa began after we had filled our tummies with delicious food and laughed ourselves into a comfortable and familiar silence. “We never thought that we’d be able to see all of you kids together, all at the same time ever again.”
After dinner, the boys watched some hockey, and the girls gathered around the piano for a good old fashioned sing-along. I was a few beers in, so just about at the prime of my singing game. It was a day I will never forget. Nothing really compares to Christmas at home.