Last Christmas Eve marked our first Christmas alone. OK. Gary and I weren’t exactly alone.
We had each other. We spent time with our parents, siblings, nieces, and nephdudes. But, for us, there existed an emptiness, an unfilled hole.
We missed three someones because three someones were missing. I’m talking about the people who once lived under our roof, the ones we diapered and fed.
We read bedtime stories to them. We took their temperatures. We chased behind their bicycles when the training wheels came off.
They are the same three people we taught how to drive and argued with over curfews—the people from whom we hid our tears when they skipped off to college.
When our children were growing up and leaving hot chocolate for Santa, thoughts of celebrating Christmas without them never danced in our heads.
But last year, they couldn’t make it home—not one, two, or three.
I admit I’m having a little pity party for myself, but it has been a long while since our children have been home for Christmas—all at the same time.
One year, one might make it; two equals a banner year.
I can’t remember the last time all three of our children swooped in for the holidays. Until now.
Oh, yes. Yay and YAY.
It is fitting that they will all fly in Saturday—December 23rd. You may or may not have heard, but the Day before the Day before Christmas is a bonus holiday in our family.
And what a holiday it will be. Gary and I will spend the day at the airport—retrieving those people we so missed last year and the new family members they bring with them.
As airline travel would have it, no two planes are scheduled to arrive at the same time, but I’m not complaining.
There’s no better way to spend the Day Before the Day before Christmas than hanging out in baggage claim, waiting to hug the next adult-child who rounds the corner.
As if to play a joke on us, our kids are to arrive opposite their birth order. Our youngest child and only son, Trey, should make his appearance in the early afternoon. Rebekah, his main squeeze, will have her arm looped through his.
Kristen and her husband Andrew are due to arrive a couple hours later with our “granddogter” Stella in tow.
We’ll have to wait a little longer to welcome Jordan. Our first child arrives last. She’s the one we haven’t hugged in over a year.
Oh, we talk or text with her every day. But talking and texting never—as in ever—substitute for hugging.
Trey, Rebekah, Kristen, and Andrew are traveling south to north. Jordan is flying from tomorrow to yesterday.
Jordan will catch her plane in the land of far, far away—a place called Seoul, South Korea. As the clock ticks, Seoul is 14 hours ahead of our town.
Our eldest child will connect in Beijing at 5 PM on December 24th and arrives in Newark, NJ at 5:40 PM on December 23rd.
Don’t give it much thought. It will hurt your head.
The point is that when the last of our arrivals appears, there’s going to be a bit of unchecked whooping and cheering.
Ok. There will be a lot of unchecked hooting and hollering amid hugs and silent prayers of thanksgiving.
We will decorate gingerbread houses and visit grandparents. We will attend Christmas Eve service, open presents, and devour a Christmas Day feast.
There will be late nights and lots of laughter.
I apologize for the noise level in advance, but our children are coming home for Christmas, and our castle will be rockin’ with joy.