My first Christmas with Doug's extended family did not turn out as I expected. Oh, the Christmas breakfast was all that Doug described it to be -- delicious crepes, delightful company, stress-free visiting, and snow on the ground to give me my first-ever, white Christmas in this country. But the girls had such awful coughs and non-stop sniffles, that we couldn't visit relations nearby because of Uncle's delicate constitution. We were all disappointed. Though that meant extra days of rest for us, we were away from home but visiting nobody.
Yet it turned out to be one memorable Christmas. Auntie gave strict instructions for us to pass by her house on our way back to the hotel at the end of Christmas day. From her magic hat, she produced the unforgettable Christmas meal for this displaced family -- seafood salad to put in dinner buns, a green salad with two kinds of dressing, a fresh-from-the-oven pan of baked stuffed pasta shells in a red sauce that reminds the children of Grand-Nana, and three kinds of dessert: a plate of rugelach, a fruit cake, and sugar cones to be filled with Ambrosia fruit salad. And just in case the girls became picky, another aunt added a box of See's chocolate truffles, its red box complimenting the green of the table napkins that Auntie thoughtfully remembered to pack with the plates and utensils.
As we pulled out each item from the large brown bag, our eyes got bigger, our hearts became fuller, and we all felt the love that went into packing this Christmas dinner. As if these weren't enough, Auntie packed presents for the girls to open after our meal. She really didn't need to do all this extra work!
But she did.
So on Christmas day, at a hotel's breakfast room, our family had a feast. And a Christmas that could have been relegated to a been-there-won't-do-that-again list, now tops our most memorable one.
Thank you, Aunt Roberta. May God bless you abundantly for your kindness and generosity.