Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas sojourn to the hometown

While Brian froze his fanny off in Kansas (and brought down a fine buck to show for it), I spent the week in Michigan with my family. It was a VERY wise last-minute decision on my part, if I do say so myself. Perhaps I have the Spirit of those darn Magi to thank for it.

The week was wonderful – just what I needed to feel excited for Christmas. After all, it’s easy for the month of December to become a string of oops-I-forgot-to-mail-the-Christmas-cards and oh-my-gosh-I-haven’t-done-any-Christmas-baking-and-it’s-the-night-before-the-last-day-of-church-before-we-leave-for-Michigan and what-a-loser-I-am-it’s-five-minutes-before-we’re-supposed-to-leave-for-Michigan-and-I-forgot-to-pack-the-presents or oh-no-it’s-three-in-the-morning-on-Christmas-Eve-and-please-God-don’t-let-me-fall-asleep-at-the-wheel-on-the-way-up-north-and-kill-us-all kinds of days. And it’s a shame, because I love Christmas. But being in Detroit made it feel like the holidays.

Saturday morning, my grandpa woke us up with a hearty crack on the front door and a sack of McDonald’s sausage biscuits and a couple gallons of chocolate milk in his hands. Though he claims to be the Ebenezer Scrooge in the family, we all know better: he’s even worse than that. We gave him lots of hugs and smiles and after eating breakfast with us, he left, as charmingly grumpy as ever.

Somehow, then, all six of us had the day free. We took a family Christmas shopping outing and followed it with a trip to the deli, where I tried a Reuben sandwich for the first time. It was so big and delicious that there was no WAY I’d possibly be able to eat it in one meal. So I guess there’s no good explanation why I somehow swallowed it in seven bites.

And all the while, we sang Christmas carols as only the Kleist kids can. Matthew did the beatboxing and Joel sang the crafty harmony, while Erin went for the Celine Dion sound and I perfected the sliding nonsense way up high and way off key. Yes, all at once, and we sounded like delightful, crumpling train cars.

After church on Sunday, while I gushed to a couple friends about my sweet and well-behaved dog Bo, my Dad announced with a sour face that Joel and Matthew had discovered a very rare and unpleasant Bo-surprise all over the basement floor. Though I still insist that this has NEVER happened and that he MUST have been sick while we were gone, the family has still given him a new nickname: Puddin’. But yes, we salvaged the carpet.

Other highlights:
  • Having Becca pick out her Christmas gift at Penney’s and then dragging her across the mall to the Macy’s Christmas tree display, where I gave it to her.
  • Perusing the mall with Joel, Matthew, and Erin, and sneakishly buying gifts behind backs.
  • Drinking coffee each morning with my mom.
  • Watching The Christmas Carol in 3D as a family.
  • Decorating the Christmas tree and watching The Christmas Box.
  • Brutally and ruthlessly winning Monopoly while my family suffered.
  • Experiencing the Michigan cold and realizing that until we move back someday, I’m just fine in North Carolina, thanks very much.
  • Spending time with my ultra-busy Kathleen.
  • Missing, missing, missing Brian.
I am very blessed. Of all the problems in the world, the greatest one to have is a terrific family that’s just a little too far away for my taste. And a husband who likes to take long hunting trips so I can see them every two weeks during the fall, all the while wishing I was with him, too. It’s a wonderful middle place to be.

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