This New York day began rainy and gray but turned into mild and sunny before it was over. Jackets weren’t really needed and the air was crisp and cool and clean by the time the sun went down. Sellers made yummy cinnamon roles from scratch and we had them hot out of the oven while watching “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” with the boys. As the morning wore on the more prep was completed for the evening’s activities. Curt prepared to start his duties for the day and caught the train to his parish. Sellers and I and the boys attended the 3:00 p.m. family service at St. James Episcopal Church on the Upper East Side (I think…). St. James is a brilliantly beautiful church with a grand high altar, huge organ, and spectacular stone and tile work. This afternoon it all decked out for the day including cascading banks of poinsettias and tall candles attached to every pew. When the pipes rang out with “O Come All Ye Faithful” tears immediately filled my eyes. I love that sound. I love the smells. I love the liturgy. I love our Episcopal community. I have missed it so.
Later in the evening we ventured across the bridge to Brooklyn to the home of our friends Meghan and Shannon and their sweet baby girl Maggie Rose. We joined more friends, Lynn Jackson, Jesse Sturges, as well as Shannon’s mom. This is a friendship that stretched from the corners of Clermont and Carlen streets in Mobile all the way to Brooklyn. When they were kids, Jesse and Curt and Meg and Jessica were quite the foursome. They had a clear path thru the back yards and over the fences of neighbors between our two houses. Lynn is the other mom – the one who taught about Springsteen and driving a little quickly and top shelf margaritas. Raising the four of them was a group effort between Lynn and my parents. I was the older sister and they were just all under foot. Funny how age doesn’t seem to matter as life goes on. Since those days there have been multiple graduations, 3 weddings, 4 grandchildren, too many funerals and more laughter and love than can be expressed in words. Tonight, we were all together again over beef tenderloin, my mom’s corn pudding, good red wine, and and an abiding friendship.
Have I mentioned that this is the first Christmas in my 45 years that I’ve not spent with my parents? I think I took that harder than they did. Christmas Eve at the Kennington’s was an event. We had time to kill between church services and so that time turned into hours of friends and family and music and beautiful food. Tonight Jess and Philip are in New Orleans with Luc and I’m up here with this branch of our tree. They are probably tucked in bed and will sleep past 7 a.m. tomorrow morning – the traditional appropriate time for getting up with presents and stockings. The New Orleans bunch will arrive tomorrow afternoon and the house will be full of little boy energy again – sounds I know my parents will be ready for.
I hear a little drizzle outside at this hour. Grayton and Henry are sound asleep. Presents are ready. Bubbly is chilling in the fridge for tomorrow morning. We’ve been tracking Santa with NORAD all night so I know he’s close. Time for me to tuck in as well.
On this holy night, I wish all of you and those you love a very Merry Christmas of Happy Hanukkah. May your tomorrow be filled with the magic of the day, the sweet love of the Christ child, and the delight of children everywhere.