Christmas isn't the only celebration we'll be having at my parents' house later today.
It's my Mom's birthday. During the day, we celebrate her special day. She'll open her presents after lunch. We are always careful to wrap the gifts in birthday paper. No leftover Christmas paper will do.
My siblings and I provide the bulk of the evening meal (though Mom made her own homemade ice cream earlier in the month when she had the ice cream freezer out to make my brother's frozen concoction).
One of the traditions is for the grandkids to gather with Mom for an annual photo before she cuts her cake. The grandkids began arriving in 1982 and were interspersed about every two years until the last one arrived in 1994. The photo at the top was Madi's first appearance in the annual photo. The photo below is from 2008.
This year, we have a new person to add to the cast of characters. And I'm wondering what will happen to the annual snapshot with Grandma. Will this cute little Santa be the only one to share the spotlight this year? We will see.
This afternoon, a photographer is coming to take a family photo. We've added three spouses and a baby since the last photo was taken.
By next Christmas, the "new" family photo will be obsolete, since Grandchild No. 2 and her husband, Paige and Russ, will add another face to the photo, the second of my parents' great-grandchildren.
Life changes. We celebrate the arrival of new family members. We say goodbye to others, and we pull out the special memories from our mental scrapbooks.
Christmas is about family. And it's about birthdays - very special birthdays.
"It comes every year and will go on forever. And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs. Those humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders, like Mary, in the secret spaces of her heart."
Merry Christmas to you and yours!