Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A Good Ending To A Tough Year

Our holidays were wonderful and remarkably uneventful: no illnesses, no crises, no tragedies. There was eating--oh so much eating!--of cookies, chocolates, and homemade raspberry pie; shrimp and spanikopita; lemon martinis and all sorts of other treats. There was wonderful, 98% drama-free time with extended family, and one of the biggest gifts my children received was four crazy days of unstructured play time with five of their cousins. We missed my father terribly, and there were many teary moments, but overall it was all good.

Best gifts I received:
My sister had a silver and pearl necklace made for me, with my children's names stamped on the pendant: very unique and funky, and I absolutely love it.

And my sister-in-law gave all of us prints made of pressed flowers from my father's funeral. There was not a dry eye in the room when we opened them.

I received only one knitting related gift, which was Knitting Without Tears, but that was plenty. In lieu of fiber gifts, I had requested a Sansa clip mp3 player (which is already loaded with audiobooks) and a purple Haiku bag (which is already loaded with a sock knitting project, in addition to all the usual purse related items).

Best gift I gave:
My mother loved the finished Morning Surf Scarf, which came out great--and which I forgot to photograph! I will have to get a picture the next time I see her.

Holiday happening most likely to be remembered by my children many years from now:
My brother is hard to buy for, because he is well-off and he buys whatever he wants for himself. So last year I started the tradition of making him a raspberry pie for Christmas. My grandmother used to make wonderful ones, and he really misses them, so that is a gift that means a lot to him. In September I went to a local farm and picked the raspberries and froze them, and then I brought them to his house to make the pie on Christmas day. I hate making pie crust (sorry, Carole! The feeling of flour on my hands drives me crazy!) so I use the premade kind that comes already laid out in a foil pie pan. I made two pies (one raspberry, one raspberry/apple) and put them in the oven; then I almost forgot about them so I got a little panicky about getting them out quickly before they got too brown. I got the first one out, then grabbed the second--and as I was moving it to the counter the pie pan bent in half and I dropped it: SPLAT! Hot raspberry pie all over the floor, the cupboards, etc. Thankfully no one was standing nearby to get burned--but the kitchen/great room was full of people and there was just this shocked silence. Then everyone started trying to console me. I didn't cry when I dropped the pie, but as soon as everyone started being nice to me the tears of disappointment started. After a few minutes my SIL came over to start cleaning up the mess, but my brother yelled "No!"--and he grabbed a spatula and scooped the main part of the pie back up onto a plate. He said, "I've been waiting for this all year and I'll gladly eat it off the floor if I have to!"

And he did eat it, with vanilla ice cream, and he said it was great, and with tongue firmly in cheek he noted that there weren't even too many dog hairs in it. (Blecchh!) He ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day, too. That's true brotherly love for you. DH and my other BIL ate some, also, but the rest of us politely declined.

I guess that next year I'll actually follow the directions on the package and put the foil pans on a baking sheet. Embarassed There will be pie jokes in my family for years to come!

So probably what my kids will remember from this Christmas is that Mama dropped the pie and cried. But what I will remember is that we all enjoyed being together, and that we cherished every minute, acutely aware of the wonder and the fragility of it all.