Our Christmas was FULL in so many wonderful ways, so much so that I'm not even sure how to write about it. Peter had the week off between Christmas and New Year's Day and it was such a treat to have him home. This afternoon, he went back to work for our Saturday night service, and right in the middle of a craft project, Anya Rashi burst into tears and wailed, "I want my Daddy!" So I guess she liked having him home too!
We spent Christmas Day with Peter's family up in northernmost Wisconsin. The kids were thrilled to walk on the frozen lake at Aunt Anne & Uncle Nick's house, and Anya Rashi helped feed their chickens. The boys went out with their 17-year-0ld cousin Jack to help check his traps; he was hoping for ermine, but they found nothing. We had a great day tromping around in the snow, playing games, making snow angels, and enjoying a wonderful Christmas dinner.
The next day was our turn to host my family. Instead of the traditional turkey dinner, we opted for Italian, and had a feast of two kinds of lasagna, great fresh bread, olives, and salad. I did make pumpkin pie for dessert -- some traditions you don't mess with! My parents surprised us with a family gift of the Wii, which was a huge thrill for Aaron and Nathan. I love looking around my living room and seeing my whole family together.
Two of the best surprises were gift-related. About two months ago, Anya Rashi fell in love with a Princess Jewel fishing game. She talked about it for weeks, hoping she would find it under the Christmas tree . . . and her brothers got it for her! She was beside herself, and hugged Aaron and Nathan, who felt like heroes. The best moment, though, was when Peter opened the gift Anya Rashi chose for him. We were at a store when Anya Rashi spied a gift at the checkout counter and said, "I HAVE to get that for Daddy! He will LOVE it!" So we did . . . and Peter laughed so hard when he opened it: it's a Jesus keychain that lights up like a flashlight. She was right -- he does love it!
We got together with friends, went sledding, had a dinner date at a fondue place, and Peter's parents took us to see a huge light display in a city near ours. We spent New Year's Eve with some good friends -- a former co-worker from my museum days and her family -- and have had a quiet day at home today.
One unexpected thing happened Christmas night, when Aaron accidentally ate something with eggs in it. I don't write about it often, but he has severe food allergies to eggs and peanuts, and each reaction gets stronger. We work really hard to avoid those foods, but sometimes even our best efforts fail. This was the first time Aaron was actually frightened, because he felt his throat getting tight, and he thought he might have to use the EpiPen. (This child hates needles to the degree that he once had a filling done at the dentist with NO anesthetic!) Thank heaven my sister, who is a doctor, was sleeping over at our house and could watch over him along with us. She had her stethoscope in her car, and saved us a trip to the ER by listening to his breathing and helping us figure out how to adjust his medicine doses after he vomited.
He was fine by the time 24 hours had gone by, but it was really frightening. Most of the time, I try to ignore the reality of how dangerous everyday food can be for him. The next day, I was in tears because we thought he'd been exposed again -- and I got on the phone with a grocery store to find out the ingredients in what he'd eaten. Over the years, I have found one positive thing about his allergies: it has reminded me over and over how fragile life is, and how blessed we are to have our children for whatever time God allows us to have. His allergies are an exercise in trust for me . . . trusting the school, trusting other parents, trusting the leaders next year at summer camp, and ultimately, trusting that God will protect him, allergies and all. Wish I were better at that.
Last night, I'm happy to say that we were surprised in a great way: our friends' Christmas present to Peter and I was the proceeds of their autumn rummage sale . . . to use toward our plane tickets when we fly to India. I was in tears all over again at their support and kindness. They and their kids folded all the bills into little paper airplanes (so cute!), and stuffed them all into a zipper bag made by a fair trade company in India. Every part of that gift was so thoughtful! We are so blessed to have them helping us and cheering us on as we wait. I can't think what we ever did to deserve friends like we have . . . but I sure am grateful for them.
My only New Year's resolution for 2011 is that I'm determined to find out who our next daughter is!! I realize that it's not a real resolution, because it doesn't depend on me at all (believe me, if it did, I'd already know!), but it's the thing that's foremost on my mind this January 1st. Happy New Year!