I haven’t written for a while. Why do I feel the need to apologize? I don’t have internet at home.
I went home to Boise for a week for Christmas. Weird calling Boise home since I grew up in Oregon, but I do believe home is where the family is. (I have a lot of homes.)
Yeah, my whole family was there. Ryan, Mom, Dad, Dane, Rachel, Grant, Lissa, Paige, and Ammon.
Christmas morning I woke up around 6am because I was so excited and woke up Ryan who was just as excited as I was. We went downstairs and found Paige, Lissa, and Ammon sleeping in the family room in front of the glowing tree. They were a mess–all knotted together under blankets, arms and legs around each other, snoring and wheezing into each other’s ears. We shook them awake and Ammon croaked like a frog, his tired voice was so excited. We secretly opened our stockings and marveled at the fact that Santa still managed to bring everyone a gift this year.
We all went back to sleep until the whole house was up and ready to open presents. Grant, Mom, Dad, Rachel, and “Dane on his cane” joined us in the kitchen where we ate Finnish pulla and Finnish cookies and fudge and lemon bread and hot cocoa (and cinnamon rolls for Dad who hates pulla). My mom had set up all our red Christmas mugs on the marble counter the night before and they shone in the light from the snowflake decorated windows. Since the first Christmas I can remember, my mom has found ways to make the whole house sparkle. I still remember a Christmas over 15 years ago. To this day I can’t explain how all the bikes were glittering in the dark, how they were all standing perfectly aligned without their kickstands as if some invisible hand was holding them in their place. Stuff like that can’t be explained outside of Christmas.
My sweet mother made us all gifts. She “warned” us about this Christmas, how it was going to be “very little,” she said. But she knitted us beautiful scarves!–all of us, including Ryan! Red scarves, white scarves, brown scarves, blue scarves, pink scarves. When we opened our gifts, we all cheered for each other because it really was exciting. My mom had made blankets, pink, green, blue, and orange blankets. She painted me a Welcome sign, written in Finnish, “Tervetuloa” and it hangs right now near mine and Ryan’s apartment door. My darling sister Paige framed pictures she had drawn and gave them to Mom, Dad, me and Ryan. My sister Lissa knitted me a wildly orange beanie. My dad and brothers played guitar, Ammon played piano and sang all day and I KNOW he is an angel. Dane humored us/disgusted us with his gnarly scars up his leg and belly. Rachel moonwalked. Grant made us laugh too hard. Ryan and I gave each other the Christmas letters we wrote for each other and I laughed, because I always do, at his handwriting as small as a lizard’s. Then us girls cuddled together in our different colored nightgowns because we’re sisters and we will always be.
This is my last post of the year and I guess I’ll try to make something of it.
A couple days after Christmas my mom read to us her journal entries of when we were all younger. She read how Grant told her that he didn’t want to ride his bike without training wheels until he was 6 or 7 or even 8 years old, that he just wasn’t ready for that kind of bike riding. When my mom tried to convince him that he should try, he said only if he could get a treat at the store (Now and Laters). So she bought him the treat, then wrapped towels around his elbows and knees and took all of us out to the road in front of our home in Bend, Oregon. Dane told Grant, “You just gotta believe you can do it.” Then mom pushed Grant and he rode and rode and we all screamed and cheered, even when he fell over at the end of the street because he didn’t know how to stop. We all stayed out there and cheered and coached for over two hours because Grant still couldn’t stop, mom said, and then she stopped reading and started to cry and said, “You all have your different personalities, but you have always been so close.”
When Dane showed us his scars, I could see the muscles move like fish under the dark skin grafted onto his right leg. But I could see the muscles. I could see the scars too. And I could see my older brother right in front of me, who, when he was little made sure the ornaments covered the WHOLE tree, not just the front. And I saw Rachel, his wife, who laid her head on his shoulder while he talked and bounced his cane on his shoe.
The truth is, my family didn’t move to Boise because they wanted to. They lost their house in Oregon, though not their home. They lost their retirement, their security, which I know haunts my dad and my mom perhaps especially during Christmas. But they will be okay because the truth is, they really do believe in miracles. We all do. That Grant could ride his bike before 8, 7, and even 6 years old! That though Ryan and I broke up twice earlier this year, we married by the end of it. That Santa can make bikes balance without kickstands and wrapping paper glow like moon beams. That Dane can walk and we could all be together again for a Christmas alive with cheering.
So cheers to 2010–a year that has been all sorts of everything good and bad, but always good. And cheers to our families, our homes, our God of so many kinds of miracles that save us over and over again each year.