This Christmas has felt very joyous to me. We have a lot to be thankful for. Liam, my oldest, is home from college. All the kids are healthy. You know one reason for my feeling of contentment? I have not been sparring with a homeschool schedule all fall. Wow. Because of our sabbatical, we've been just living. There's enough time for everything. If I stop unschooling, that's something I'll really miss. Oddly, I think I've gotten more actually DONE, but it has felt like I've had less to do.
Christmas has often been a hectic, odd time in our lives, just as the birth of Jesus probably came at an odd time for Mary and Joseph. Whether or not it was actually December 25th that His Birth happened!
- In 1995 we had just moved (we moved on Thanksgiving Day) and I was on bedrest because I had gone into early labor during the move.
- In 1996, we didn't have a home. We had had to leave our rental and were temporarily renting a cabin because our permanent home-to-be was behind schedule.
- In 1997 I had lost my twins at about week 16 of gestation, though I didn't officially KNOW that until January 8th. I just had a sense there was something wrong.
- In 1998 I was pregnant with #6, in the first trimester, and sick.
- In 1999 we were in San Francisco; #6 Aidan had been through a catastrophic medical mill. He had had a liver transplant and had suffered a massive stroke. He got to come home for Christmas, and our relatives had come to SF to be with us; he was to go back to the hospital soon after, and spend Y2K there.
- In 2000, we went to Maui with our relatives and came home CHristmas Eve and got a free tree!
- I don't remember 2001.
- In 2002 our #7 Patrick was induced in early December, was air-vaced to San Francisco in liver failure and hung out at the NICU for several weeks, but resolved and was able to come home on Christmas Eve. We had our family gift exchange on Epiphany that year!
- In 2003 #6 child, Aidan, had a massive seizure just a week before Christmas and was diagnosed with pylonephritis, got out in time for Christmas, but had to go back in January to SF hospital where he spent a month.
- Last year, 2004, was uneventful. Whew! And this has been the second quiet Advent and Christmas in a row.
"....here we are. Falling in love again at Christmas time, and crazy, head-over-heels in love with our children. And all because of of a child born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. ..... How does one thank God for that? I always seem to do it in the same old tired way. I cry. May you, too, shed some tears of ineffable gratitude this Christmas."