We have a big family by today's standards with five kids. Our house was always a bit loud, rather messy most of the time but, overall, I think it was a pretty warm and loving place. The kids all did well in school, participated in sports or theater or music - always one activity or the other. The smell of fresh baked cookies or some favorite treat often filled the house with that cozy feeling. Now they're grown with lives of their own and we couldn't be prouder.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays that we look forward to. The kids come in a rush, noisy, tossing coats onto the hooks by the door, leaving a jumbled mess of boots and purses and bags all over the place, their pets taking over floor and couch space. Everyone starts talking at once making it really hard to follow more than two conversations at time but we love it.
We ate too much food, as usual. As someone dear to me said, "This is my favorite time of year. Families get together and laugh and then they see who can eat the most and feel the worst." That's kind of where we landed over Christmas. Delicious turkey from the farm, baked goods that the kids all brought to share, cheeses, crackers, dips... all the things that we love to eat. Of course, there are the board games, watching old movies and laughing at all the familiar scenes.
Our first grandson arrived early making the days even more special (and hectic) but all worth it as he is a beautiful little guy and such a blessing to us all. Tomorrow, one daughter and her husband and their two dogs leave. The next day, another daughter and her two cats leave. Work starts again and my sons and husband will be back to their work routines and our oldest daughter has her two girls and a new home to attend to. I am fortunate to be able to stay home until after the first of the year. So, the happy, noisy house will once again be quiet - painfully quiet. This is the joy and the pain of parenthood. You raise them up carefully, lovingly just so they can go away. We are so glad they are all fine, capable people. I sure wish they were little again.
By the way, our roaming chicken came home for Christmas. I wonder where she's been.....?