Sunday, December 27, 2009

Golden Christmas Moments

We flew to my parents' house in California for Christmas. My brother (Steve) and his wife (Emie) were there with us [Derrill, Joy, Hyrum, Pop, and Grandma Boo] for 10 days, plus my Dad's mom (Grammy) for Christmas Day. The crown of Christmas was Hyrum's experience at church, which I already talked about. Here are a few other golden moments from our Christmas stay.

Joy also really enjoyed her experience at the Christmas program. "I was really happy to be feeling well enough to sing with the choir, and I gave about all I had when we sang the Hallelujah Chorus. So when we got to the last song, Silent Night, it was a great blessing that Dannon Story was singing my descant with me because I pooped out in some places." Pop had taught his choir Joy's descant an earlier year because it's so beautiful. "And Dad thought I did great with the sopranos, and I never get to sing soprano, so that was fun."

The thing I was most looking forward to was taking my sweetheart to the LA temple where I proposed to her 5 years ago [on the very stone in our new title picture] and doing some temple work. When I proposed, they were closed. This year, for some strange reason, they were open. They set up a special sealing session just for us so we could be extra romantic. It was very cuddly. "And Derrill, as a very romantic gesture, took me to eat at the temple cafeteria. This is romantic to me because it reminds me of when I used to serve in the Provo temple and how much I loved being at the temple, even more than for doing service. He knows it's special to me. I feel very grateful that the thing that Derrill wants to do the most when he has time off is go to the temple. I really married a man who cherishes the Lord's house and it makes me cherish him even more."

It was so great to see Grammy. We really missed being with her last Christmas. Seeing Grammy was the primary reason that we wanted to go to CA for Christmas rather than have mom and dad come here. "When I was talking to Grammy around the dinner time on Christmas day, I told her that I thought that our son looks just like Pop, her son. She told me that Derrin, her son, looked exactly like Hyrum when he was Hyrum's age. Then Grammy told me that he would be thrilled to know that. So, before the dinner started and Pop was in the room putting things on the table, Grammy told him how he had looked exactly like Hyrum when he was little. It was really special to me because it felt like such a unifying moment, seeing the generations so similarly and that Grammy his own mother saw it too. Pop and Hyrum are two peas in a pod not just because they look like each other. They are definitely bosom buddies. Even across the miles in Ithaca, Hyrum thinks of his Pop frequently, with wonder, and with urgency."

Speaking of Grammy, she loved Hyrum's toys. It was very fun, the night she got to town, seeing her play with this toy where you knock a ball through a hole with a hammer and the lion plays you music. She was so taken with it, I took this video of it. The best comments, though, were just before and just after the video as she told my parents she wanted Hyrum's toys for Christmas next year.

"Another of my special memories was helping out with dinner. Mom had received a blessing counseling her to take it easy in preparing for Christmas for her health and happiness. When I talked to her about Christmas dinner later, I was able to volunteer to do many of the things that she would not be able to do. I made a pie, the potatoes, helped Emilee make a crab cheese ball, and made a relish tray with Emilee. After helping with the dinner I really felt like I had helped the Lord fullfill his promise to mom and it felt good."

Hyrum's big success was eating Belgium chocolate covered cookies and drinking apple juice for the first time during the trip. Yay!

Another golden Hyrum moment was caught on video. Pop was reading him a story he got for Christmas, "The Rain on Kapiti Plain," but he got up and walked off. Watch Hyrum's face VERY carefully when Pop asks him if he wants to sit in his lap. That's the mischievous imp grin - such expressive eyebrows. He played that joke another 6 times, each time to uproarious laughter. Joy says, "I love it when that game works in my favor!"

Among Hyrum's favorite presents was a little plastic nativity. He carried Mary around with him everywhere saying, "born." We're not sure whether he thinks that's her name, or he's remembering that Jesus was born. We wondered why he wasn't carrying baby Jesus around, until Steve finally found Him between couch cushions.

Hy also served as a great elf. He picked up presents from the tree, carried them to a favorite adult to ask who the present was for. We'd tell him, then he brought it over to the right recipient. He was gentle with them and wouldn't try opening anything until we said, "Open." Then he could tear into it with increasing delight. He got the hang of it pretty quickly, unlike last year. "I begin to understand the magic of Christmas as I see him learn to do a simple thing as opening a present, that is magic to me."

Emie got a Disney nature video she had really wanted, narrated by James Earl Jones, aka Darth Vader. As we sat around watching it, we cracked many jokes about the animals on it. Emie called out at one point in response, "That's not what Darth Vader said!" Best comment of the night.

I really enjoyed getting a book of classical music favorites that I spent the vacation playing through on the piano. It was so nice to have a piano handy. I could sit down and play most of them on sight, though by far not perfectly. Just well enough to enjoy. "Hyrum would often start clapping when Derrill finished a peice or paused in playing the piano." Reminding everyone else to clap. I was also delighted when Hyrum carried his little xylophone up to the piano and asked me to play with him. Of course, he wanted to play on the piano WITH the xylophone, but it was the first intimation of our future duets and trios together.

The night before we all left to come back to the East, Steve, Emie, Joy, and I sat around and pretended we were adults. That is, instead of getting out a game, we actually talked. Dude. "It was fun. We just talked about anything, more important things, and though I wouldn't mention on here what they were, they were all special. It felt like we were close friends. So nice to be getting to know them."

1 comment:

Emilee said...

I enjoyed Christmas together with you all too! :) Thanks for the recap, it made me smile!