As I saw this scene out of the tiny airplane window, Michael Buble’s version of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” came on over my headphones and filled my brain. It was like shuffle kismet. And this was just Toronto. I wasn’t even in Edmonton yet. And y’all, I was not sitting by the window. The poor little Canadian lady had to move her cute noggin’ so I could take this photo. I did ask politely though, in case you were wondering. She happily obliged when I told her I was excited for my first white Christmas and then she proceeded to tell me how she was ready to move to New Orleans and get OUT of the snow. We always want what we can’t have, right?
A few hours later, as we landed at my destination, “Brave” (Sara Bareilles) was the song in my ears, and the very last note of it played just as the wheels of the plane touched the pavement. Because yes, everything I was doing that day, and so many things I have done in the last year, have been pretty damn brave.
You know, like walking (not skating) around in this for four days.
Yes, one of my Christmas wishes did come true. The snow lightly fell all day on Christmas Eve, leaving a gorgeous new blanket of glistening white on the ground. As I stood right on the other side of the plate glass windows in my cousin’s home, I marveled at it like a kid. Meanwhile the seven actual children who are quite accustomed to snow (and the two adults) probably laughed at me a little. But I didn’t care. It was all new and truly alluring to me. And just so silent and beautiful. Snow doesn’t rap on the roof like rain. It doesn’t soak things – it simply covers them in beauty.
However, the blanket did not comfort me enough to keep me from crying on Christmas Eve, while missing my children.
I am so thankful though, as I said last week, that I had the opportunity to spend this Christmas with extended family and in such a beautiful part of the world. And my cousin’s sweet, welcoming family made it more so.
On Christmas Eve we headed over to Hawrelak Park in the Edmonton river valley. There is a big pond that becomes a skating rink in the winter (of course) and a couple of these kids know how to skate, including their dad (the parent born and raised in Canada, go figure). I stood on the ice in my borrowed snow boots and enjoyed it until I didn’t anymore (because cold!). It was really neat to watch the kids and other people out on the ice and the park was gorgeous, covered in snow.
Yes, white was the color of this Christmas. But so were red and green and gold and grey.
And plaid. 🙂
I will tell y’all this – I about froze my butt off running in to mass on Christmas Eve! This stuff sure ain’t for the thin-blooded. Below are pics of us as we waited for all 10 of us to get ready to go that afternoon, and a pic of my cousin’s neighborhood as we drove to the church.
Also, HOW CUTE ARE THESE PEOPLE?!?
That evening we spent time and had a meal with Mark’s (my cousin’s husband) brother’s family. It was really nice. I would also like to say how crazy it was to me that it was really no big deal to drive all over town in snow and a little bit of ice. Where I live people would hibernate or wreck their vehicles if this stuff was all over the roads!
Christmas morning was really nice. When I got upstairs, all of the kids except the youngest and oldest were sitting there quietly, just waiting to dig into the pile of gifts. It was so cute. I looked on as the family took their time handing each other presents and enjoying each one. I may have walked away with a few “sussies” (Cajun for little gifts) myself. Not to mention, Mark made the most delicious breakfast! French toast casserole anyone? Yeah……
Later that day, Misty and I took a walk in the snow. It had stopped falling overnight and the sun came out and made it shine like diamonds. Can you see?
Christmas is a feeling to me. It’s a feeling of love and new birth. It’s funny how the new year is just around the corner… waiting for us to start again. The love I felt and witnessed while staying and celebrating with my cousin’s family, is immeasurable. I love that her kids call me “Auntie Elaine”. I love that everyone chips in to help each other and that her kids draw names to buy gifts for each other. I love that I can help with the dishes or not and not be made to feel bad about anything. I love that there is always a kid to talk to or kiss on the cheek or hug. I even loved witnessing a few Nerf gun fights
because they were not happening in my house.
As if the songs on the way were not enough, Michael Buble’s song “Home” played as I landed in New Orleans Tuesday night. It both made me smile and creeped me out a little – thinking maybe Apple is playing some sort of mind games with me via those tiny, white headphones.
Either way, it’s always good to be home.
I am grateful for the memories I made this Christmas, and even though they were without three of the most important people in my life, they were good. My cousin Misty is like a sister to me. She’s heard it all from me and loves me no matter what. She has my back and gave me all the wine
and coffee with Bailey’s I wanted needed while visiting. It’s funny with family, because you never know what hand you will be dealt. With this lady I was dealt a full house (and I mean that in a literal sense too – 7 kids people!). She is one of the most lovable people on the planet and not only family, but a great friend as well.
I can only hope to be surrounded by this much love every Christmas.
And now to celebrate with my own kiddos…
Merry (yes it still is) Christmas!