There are fifteen minutes left of Christmas Day and I can't sleep. That coffee I had must have been caffeinated. Oh well.
I've been lying here thinking about my family. When I was growing up, we spent every holiday with my dad's family. My mom's family didn't often get together (except for that one memorable Christmas dinner at which my cousin made fun of me for having to wear a bib with sleeves.). So I grew up close to my aunts and uncles on my dad's side.
My sisters and I were the first kids in the family, and basked in the affection of our very young aunts, played with our uncles (one was only 9 years older than my sister), and snuggled with Nanny, Papa, and Grandnanny.
Then our cousin was born. A boy. The Boy. The one who would carry on the family name. We girls doted on little J just as much as the rest of the family. Although I thought, at age 4 or so, that it was strange that they dressed him in a long Christening gown for a picture. We named our baby doll after him as well as our favourite cereal.
Following that first boy were seven more boys. We didn't get another girl cousin until after my sister had her first kid. So I spent a lot of time with the grown ups, once I felt I was too old to play Lego with the boys. The last time I remember actually playing with my cousins was the Christmas I was 9 years old, the year my dad died.
But I learned a lot from the grown ups. Particularly that I cannot compete in Trivial Pursuit! I stayed with my aunt for weekends occasionally to give her some female company in a household of boys. Auntie H is the one who gave me tips on how to make friends and encouraged shy, homeschooled me to get my high school diploma. Another aunt and uncle gave invaluable advice when my husband and I were getting married. All of them show me what it is to live in loving but real marriages, and I am so glad we have their examples to follow. Actually, today is the first time I've ever dropped the "auntie" and "uncle" titles when speaking to them. It felt strange. I may not do it again.
My nanny shows me that she expects me to do well, wanting only the best for me in my life, and inspires me to meet those expectations. And I think I would rather die than disappoint my sweet papa. Any advice he gives me I take to heart. From both I feel the strongest love, along with their pride in me, although heaven knows I don't deserve it.
Then there is my mama. She may look frail now but she is truly the strongest woman I know.
Most women would not have survived even half of what she has been through.
I am so lucky to have my family, and I was thrilled to be able to spend Christmas with them.
PS: this is a lot of typing to be done with only thumbs. I apologize for errors and things that don't make sense.