Sorrow and Celebration

Today was a day of extremes. We had this party to get ready for. Then before most of the kids were even up, I got a phone call from Walter with horrific news. Our nephew Nathan died last night. He took his own life. We’re still reeling from the shock. This young man was Spencer’s age, and the only cousin that Spencer was close to. It’s so hard to understand how a smart young man with his whole life ahead of him could make this choice. It was especially hard to take, coming so soon after one of my own friends tried to kill herself and a young man my kids grew up with was killed. All in one week. I admit, we’re struggling at the moment.

Meanwhile, we had a party to get ready for. My kids were wonderful. Jordan and Jasper did most of the outside setting-up. Lina and Mary and I did the rest of the baking. I also made a run to Sam’s for last minute supplies and stopped by to pick up my music stand from the church, where I normally leave it. Mercy was a one-woman cleaning machine.

One of my jobs was to put together little booklets with the words to some favorite Christmas carols so everyone would be able to sing along. I have a long-reach stapler that I planned to use to staple the booklets in the middle so the pages would stay together. The only problem was that I couldn’t get the stapler to work, even after cleaning it out and putting in new staples. So I took my stack of 30 booklets and sewed down the middle of each one with my sewing machine. It worked pretty well! I used an old needle that was already dull so I didn’t even ruin a good needle. I also spent some time practicing the carols. I had wanted Mary to play with me, and we did practice together a little, but we ran out of time to get more practice in so we could sound more coordinated, so in the end I played by myself.

Jordan and Jasper did such a good job of making the back yard look pretty. They even put lanterns on a wagon and our wheelbarrow! They also lit and set out the 40+ glass jar candles I had been accumulating since September. Some of our friends and neighbors came over and as usual, I found I had planned for way more than enough food! We passed out the carol booklets and sang through all eight of the songs I had chosen. I tried to pick ones that are popular and very well known. I really enjoyed hearing everyone singing together. By the time we finished with “Silent Night,” my fingers were tired and almost numb from the cold. I had to go get a jacket and my special cashmere and angora gauntlets so I could warm up.

Our guests didn’t stay long, but it sure was good to see everyone and spend some time together celebrating the birth of Christ. The evening ended on a disappointing note when we found out Flynn missed his flight and now won’t be arriving till tomorrow evening, which means he’ll only be here two days instead of three. We’ll have to make the most of every hour!

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