by Carolyn Trower

Christmas was glorious, two days of shared fun and visiting. And food, lots of food. A beautiful Christmas Eve Mass topped off with the light of the full moon, large and pearlescent. I didn’t even miss the snow. This year, the warmth and “Christmasy” feeling came after the dinner, the gifts, and the card games. It settled over me during church and warmed my being with joy and peace. I forgot that I didn’t get all the baking done, or all the decorations up, or all the cards sent out. It didn’t matter. What mattered was being surrounded by family, knowing that I love and am loved.

I spent Thursday with my cousins “making the rounds” in Shelbina, checking on our elderly aunts and uncles and catching up on each other’s family Christmas events. I always feel so good that the area nursing homes are so kind to our loved ones, it makes leaving them a little easier. There’s a sign in one of them that says, “Our residents don’t live in our work place, we work in their home.” And I like the one in the restroom that says, “Wash your hands and say your prayers, cause Jesus and germs are everywhere.” As I said, good people and a comforting environment make it easier to leave at the end of a visit.

The family celebrated my uncle’s 90th birthday on January 5. You could tell he enjoyed all the laughter and conversation around him, but I’m sure we wore him out. I feel blessed that we still have four of Daddy’s siblings with us. Being with them is a reminder of the closeness they shared with each other and helps strengthen the bond among the cousins.
Another bright spot of the holiday break – going to Mizzou with my granddaughter to see the Women’s Basketball game. I love basketball and I especially like going with “my girls.” Her enthusiasm was multiplied by the friends she met there. Girls from different schools who share their passion of the sport. They’ve played with and against one another in school and travel competitions. Watching them cheer and share laughs was just the tonic needed for the new year. They provide lessons in “love of the game,” sportsmanship when competing, and friendship that transcends competition.

Adults who don’t appreciate the complexity of teenagers annoy me. You can’t pigeonhole youthful spirits who exhibit a vast variety of interests and personalities. Yes, they’re loud and boisterous and they can get quite silly at times. I don’t always get their humor, just ask my grandson. But I love being a part of their road trips and sharing their perspective on music, gaming, clothes, and food. Yes, food. Day trips require multiple stops for refueling. My grandchildren have very different ideas of what is “good” food. As a result, I’ve probably been to every restaurant and fast food place within the radius of Columbia and Quincy. Throw in stops for lattes and ice cream and it’s no wonder I can’t lose weight.

The past week has been filled with holiday hijinks, laughter and lots of “good” food. “God bless us, every one!”