Friday, January 09, 2009

Extended Christmas 2008

The table
Originally uploaded by wellingtonrabbit
The babies (and their parents) arrived Christmas Eve and we were ummm..sort of ready. Well, always ready for a visit but only sort of ready for Christmas. The tree was procured three days earlier on a balmy Sunday, then the nor'east wind kicked up and we did not want to open the tree inloading door on that side of the porch and opted for the promised finer weather. Which finally occurred Christmas Eve. What with last minute shopping and visits from neighbors (never too busy for a glass of eggnog) we had just pretty much installed the tree when in came family one, followed shortly by family two. Baby's First Christmas was officially underway!

Tuckered out from the trip with a reluctant long distance rider, the guys nevertheless helped get the lights on the tree and the scaffolding in place for the...ta da...Decoration Busters aka Mariah, Jess & Evan to arrive. I use that term literally as a few decorations hit the attrition pile but the gals did a fine job of ornamenting our tree at the eleventh hour and we were very grateful.

Everyone was in bed by 9 except Donny & myself who had drawn the midnight shift at the elf factory and thus had to go to work. I later told him we never had it this easy getting kids to bed and we did not even have to say a word.

Christmas morning, I heard rumblings early but knowing the babies were oblivious to what day it was and the adults would not mind waiting, I rolled over and went back to sleep.

At a more gentile hour we settled into opening gifts. Andrew was appointed to distribute presents being the youngest child in attendance. He did not have a Santa hat but he did his job well.

Donald called to report lumps of coal in his stocking in the form of no electricity for morning coffee in Columbia SC. Now I know he is a good child so the coal must have been a mistake, but nevertheless they had no coffee, harsh.

We that were here had a wonderful traditional Christmas dinner and even cut the coconut cake, knowing Donald & Terri would not be much later getting in. Before they could arrive, Lewis did via ichat and opened his present from AJ while Andrew watched. D&T arrived around 9 and we played a few rounds of their new game, Dominion, while we enjoyed more, I must admit, fabulous coconut cake.

I told you this was extended Christmas because you see, we are not through yet. While we were opening presents the following morning with D&T, Emily called to say she had a change of plans and thought she would be able to get to the OBX today (if you got lost we are on Friday). But, after her new plans were formed glitches appeared everywhere. Marty had a mystery rash he was having checked, Lydia had a bad cough they were also checking on. She would call back. Later after it was verified that Marty's rash, identified as highly contagious shingles, (thus no OBX Christmas for him) and Lydia's non-contagious cough would do no harm to the babies, Em and her two began their trip.

They arrived around 9 (a recurring theme) and finally we were as all together as it was going to get.

Saturday morning we had one more Christmas and topped of Martin's perfect Christmas with a much coveted Bionicle. Lydia got more stuffed animals than Emily cares to think about but she knows when she is outnumbered.

We had rib roast for mid-day meal and everyone dispersed in waves throughout the afternoon starting with the babies who, if asked, would say they had the most miles to go.

We did have the D family until the next afternoon but by this time we were all pretty much just sitting around looking at each other, company enough without words.

Merry Christmas belated!! This set of pictures is similar to but not the same as those on Facebook.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A Celebration

Grands in a Row
Originally uploaded by wellingtonrabbit
It was definitely a party. Just the way she would have liked it. She being Mary Elizabeth Bessinger Gooch better known to some as Mom, others as Grandma, others as GG, others as Mary Beth, others as Mary, others as Mrs Gooch. I could go on and on because she knew everyone and each had a special name for her depending on the relationship of the two.

I called her Mom just like my Mom because when I married her oldest son, I gained another Mom and a stellar one at that. From my point of view she was great at everything she put her mind to do. She was the queen of music, the queen of thrifty shopping and she was the queen of mothering. She raised her five children to be best friends and as diverse as their lives have become they are just that--best friends.

She nurtured seventeen grandchildren and at her celebration service on Saturday January 3rd the six girl granddaughters prior to their collective reading spontaneously formed a club they call The Heartstrings Club, grandma's favorite endearment for each and every one of them. They have firmly put the next generation on the best friends trail. Surely the greats will do no less. Already there are eighteen to carry the banner with more to come.

At the service the grand girls read, the grand boys (sans Donald & Lewis) were pall bearers and the five siblings eulogized their mother with tender and touching stories. Oldest granddaughter Liza led the way with her introduction to the reading which was first on the program. She commented about how they as adult women were grown and scattered with varying lifestyles but their common bond was grandma. How she rocked them and sang to them, how they played make-up games throughout her house and how she always had the best treats like Pecan Sandies in her cupboard just for them.

Liza set the pace for a truly loving celebration and the rest followed just as eloquently. This family service was a tender act of love, filled to the brim with such just like mom wanted.

It was not until later Saturday evening that Donny & Bethie were chatting and Donny mentioned that surprisingly none of them had touched on a topic which was a constant thread in mom's life; her love of emphasizing the point and underlining choice words on a birthday, Christmas or other occasion card. There was always an on-going friendly competition in our household regarding the amount of underlines one received from grandma. The money in the card was appreciated for sure but it was mere icing on the cake. The underlines were the thing.

At the graveside Kenneth closed the short and sweet service with a prayer. But before anyone could rise Donny raised his voice and said, "Let's let the last thing be the Doxology." And thus we sang to Mom one more time.

Godspeed, Mom, Grandma and GG. We all love you!!