A bit ago Adam asked me if he could take the sleeping baby for me. I told him I was fine, but what I really needed was something to prop up my leg. He frowned at the thought of getting up from his cozy chair. “Oh, so you were willing to get up to get the baby,” I teased, “but not a footstool?”
“Well, taking the baby benefits me.” He smiled back, and then got up and got both the footstool, then the baby. He curled her on his chest and rocked her sweetly.
Tonight we had Advent. All by our little-old selves. For the past few years we have been invited along on the tradition with Kathy and Wayne’s family, but tonight they had plans with their extended family, so I announced to the family earlier this week that we would be having Advent all by ourselves.
“But we’re not Jewish!” Ellie argued. *Sigh*. Clearly, I need to work harder on teaching world religions in homeschool. I’m guessing she meant to say German, since Kathy is, and her Advent traditions include a lot of lovely wooden decorations from Germany, but with Ellie, you never know. I just laughed and explained it one more time.
After church I snuggled up with Natalie and we took a delicious nap in the living room. I awoke to see Guy putting up Christmas decorations. “For Advent.” He said, simply.
And so tonight after a candlelit dinner of a simple rice and sauce, Guy prepared the goodie table for Advent following the traditions Kathy has shared. At some point during my sale yesterday he had slipped out and bought fancy cookies and chocolates. He set out homemade fudge, peppermint tea and cocoa, lit the candles in the humble Advent wreath I made last year, and turned on Christmas carols.
Our Advent looked different than when Kathy does it. We ate and chatted about Christmas memories. Adam reminded me of how we sat up late last year making an Advent calendar out of match boxes for our friends the Motts, whose new baby was in the hospital, wrapping each tiny box in pretty paper after emptying out the matches. He then informed me he had taken said matches, scratched off the tips and made a pile, which he then ignited. He claims I was sitting just a few feet away. How did I miss that? The girls talked about leaving carrots for Santa's reindeer. Jonah ran around like a maniac, jumping, singing, taking his clothes off- the usual. Soon we were singing carols, but since we don’t have a tidy little homemade book of carols like Kathy does, we just did our best from memory. Ethan accused me of massacring Frosty the Snowman, which indeed was true. The girls asked me to join them in a rousing performance of Rudolf, wherein I sang the actual song and they did all the “Like a light bulb!” parts. Their version of reindeer games included Chutes and Ladders and Parcheesi.
At one point I really wanted to share a song from my childhood that talks about the meaning of Christmas, but as I sang, my voice was being drowned out by Jonah and the big boys, who were taking turns being his personal trampoline. “Never mind,” I said, “no one’s interested.”
“This is their way of bonding.” Guy gently reminded.
And it’s true. Just a few days ago I was lamenting that these last two little kids won’t have really “grown up” in a house of six children. By the time Adam leaves for his mission, which in essence means he will have left our little next to strike out into the world, never to really return, Jonah will be 8, and Natalie only 5. These are the memories they are making. Right now.
And at some Advent years from now, the memories Jonah shares could be, “I remember how Ethan and Adam used to let me use them as a jungle gym during Advent.”
Adam is asleep now in the chair, with sweet Natalie on his chest. She won't remember tonight, but maybe he will.