Tuesday, December 25, 2012

50+ years of Christmas Carols

Christmas Eve means spending the evening with family, eating lots of shrimp and desserts and singing carols. One of my cousins put it out to facebook to see if anyone else's family sang carols on Christmas eve.. so far it sounds like we are it. But that's okay, it's a tradition that I truly love.
This was the first Christmas without my Granddad. It was that weird, hard holiday where the hole is gaping but everyone is putting on a brave front. I think with his passing was the awareness that my Grandmother is 95, my aunts and uncles are in their late 60's to 70's and my mom (the youngest of that generation) is turning 60 next month. All of these so very important people in my life are aging.
It was almost fitting that Maddie was working on a family history project and needed to ask Grandmother questions about her childhood.

The trio of  my niece, nephew and Kylie picked up from the day before and played and colored.

 And we ate. And ate.

Then it was time to sing. My oldest nephew Carter started us off with a wonderful rendition of Silent Night. (this also started some tears...)

And then the song sheets were passed out and the carols were sung. Just like they have been sung for more than 50 years. It was the sameness yet different-ness without Granddad that was most heart wrenching. I think it would have been easier to forgo the carols, but it's the traditions that bind our family so tightly.


My grandmother who has aged dramatically in the last year sang and enjoyed herself tremendously. The "sisters" (my mom and her 3 sisters.. not me and my 3 sisters...) held it together and remained strong throughout the evening.   
And I did what I do, I watched and felt the nuances of the night. It truly felt like everyone there was memory-gathering. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't maudlin or anything like that, it was just a sense of awareness that these moments are sacred, holy family traditions that can not be taken lightly, for in a flash another member of this family could be gone.
So that's our Christmas Eve. Family, Food and Carols. I hope your holidays are filled with sacred moments too.

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