God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Day After Christmas

OK--I know that in some places today is what it's supposed to be --fresh fallen snow, icicles glistening in sun drops, fireplaces roaring with golden red flames and mittens and boots piled high at the door--but--here it is sunshine, shirtsleeves, shorts and a dip in the pool--or at least relaxing in the jacuzzi. Lest you doubt, here is Casey on Christmas Eve, taking in the rays. I know, it just isn't fair, you say. I wonder, do you?, why we are choosing to move to a place that requires winter clothes, boots and snow tires.

My friend Judith in Citta di Castello had her car door locks frozen the other morning--haven't experienced that since living in Syracuse! When we left that snow belt of the USA, we threw away all our ice scrapers and the other cold country paraphenalia--knowing we would never need all that stuff again. Oh my--where was our crystal ball?

Christmas was good! We went to church service on Christmas Eve. This is always a beautiful, moving, emotional celebration of the birth of Christ and the beginning of the hope ultimately realized in the crucifixion and resurrection.

Having Casey with us is always (or almost always, anyway) a joy, but never more so than on Christmas morning. Somehow Christmas morning is a time that belongs to children. There are few things that compare with the excitement and sparkle in little eyes as they anticipate what lies behind all the colorful wrappings and boxes. A child in the home at Christmas brings special pleasures and Casey does just that.

This year he struggles with the creeping knowledge that Santa Claus and his elves may be less than real. I know that he knows but he is choosing denial--for one last go around. He doesn't want to lose the fantasy--the magic--and I will mourn the loss of his innocence next year. Some of the sparkle dims when the enchantment goes away and the real world intrudes.

This year Santa even had a new name on a couple of packages--Babbo Natale. Actually, Babbo came on Christmas eve as his schedule was nine hours ahead of ours. Now, he will know us next year in Italia.

The Christmas holidays are a time of special family moments which are quite different from other vacation periods. During the day, we sort of do things in slow motion, go to the movies, help Casey ride his new razor scooter and bike and forget for a while the minutia of everyday life. At night we play games--Scrabble, Bingo or Uno--in front of a crackling fire and munch on cookies and candy. Casey loves the games and is old enough now to give some fair competition to his Uncle Jeff, Gramma and Papa. He is growing up!

Tomorrow night he wants a "movie night". This means popcorn and a family movie from Blockbuster or from his own pretty extensive DVD collection. This is quite an impressive decision on his part as it means giving up his daily allotment of 1.5 hours of TV. It is nice to know that we come in first sometimes!

He truly is a very loving boy who warms us with his cuddling and kisses and I love you's. And, each night I count my blessings when his last words are "I love you a million, trillion times and one more." What music could be more beautiful? We are blessed.

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