I can't believe that I am laying here in my bed typing on Christmas night. I know everyone feels this way, but where did the time go? Where did this year go? Life seems to be flying by faster and faster the older I get. Especially this time of year. There is so much anticipation and build up for Christmas day, and then it is over. That is why I love how we do Christmas here at my house.
First, I fly home, (a quick 45 minute flight) and spend a few extra days hanging out with my family, while P is working, and he just drives down a few days later. It is so much fun getting to spend more time at home with my parents. We shop, cook, talk, eat. All in all it is great fun. But, the real fun starts on Christmas eve day. One thing that my family does that I did not realize is different from other families until P and I got married is our Christmas Eve dinner. Every year we have Christmas Eve dinner (lunch) at my grandma's house. Every year we eat the exact same meal, shrimp gumbo, and grandma's chocolate cake. My grandmother is Cajun French, and she speaks in broken English. She is this short little French woman, who is funny, sharp, and set in her ways. Her brother, my great uncle, still lives in Louisiana on their family farm. Unlike my grandmother, he is unable to speak English. He only speaks Cajun French. In French, the word for uncle is Frie (I think), but my dad could never say it, so he just called him Uncle Pie, and the name stuck. So all of my life, he has been Uncle Pie. It is so fun to hear my grandmother talk to her baby brother. They just rattle off Cajun to each other and laugh. She still likes to boss him around and tell him what is good for him. My grandmother is 86 and making gumbo has become difficult for her, so the last few years my mom has made it here at our house, and then we drive it over to her house for dinner.
This year, I decided to help my mom make the gumbo. It is pretty easy, just time consuming. Here is the recipe for the roux, which is the base.
1/4 cup of oil
1 and 1/2 cup of flour
1 stalk onions.
You get your oil blazing hot, then add the flour. You stir it continually until it is the color of mud, then you add the onion, then continue to cook until it is almost black. But, you must cook it on a medium heat, because if you burn any part of the roux, it will taste horrible.
Then you add water, and whatever else you want. We have shrimp at Christmas time, but you can add duck, chicken, sausage, and any veggies you like.
The smell of gumbo transports me. It is the ultimate smell of comfort to me because the smell reminds me of my grandmother. Whenever I am missing that woman, all I need is a scent of gumbo to have memories rushing back.
Where was I? Right, after dinner then we open presents with my grandma, and my cousins. We leave grandma's go home, go to church, then wake up Christmas morning. About 5 years ago, we decided that we would not open presents in the morning any more because we would wake up, rush through, and then have to get to work. We have Christmas day meal here at my parents house and my mom always has to rush into the kitchen to get to work, so we wake up, lounge around, then get to cooking.
After dinner, we go out into the back yard and play some lawn games with the family, then it is inside and movie time. After the movie everyone heads home and we clean up the house, shower, turn on the fire, get into our comfy p.j.'s and do Christmas with just us. It is so exciting, because all day long I look at the tree and see the presents and the anticipation just builds and builds and at times it seems like I can't take it any more, but I still have to wait. It is so exciting. P says this is where my inner child comes out. I like to stretch out the surprise. I like holding on to that feeling of excitement for as long as possible. It is the feeling of anticipation and surprise that I love. I get so excited about presents because they mean so much to me. When someone goes out, spends their hard earned money, and spends their time picking something up just for me, it means so much to me. And I want to make it last.
So here I am at almost 11 pm in my bed in my childhood room. My husband to my left with a pillow over his face to block out the light from my lamp, and my dog on the floor to my right, snoring softly and dreaming. My parents are sound asleep in the next room just a few feet away from here. Right now, in this moment, life for me is as close to perfect as it can get. There are a few other family members missing in this equation that could not be here today, but this is my dream come true. I told my mom today, before we opened our presents, that I had so much fun today, that I didn't even need any presents. Good friends, family, and food were more than enough to fill my tank.
I am constantly being reminded that it is not the things in life that make it beautiful and full, it is the people in it. I have blogged about it so many times, but it is so true.
I hope yall all had a wonderful Christmas with your families.