Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve was very low-key. We dressed Frances in her Scottish plaid dress and went to the 4 oclock mass, which was also the Christmas pageant. I ushered. I had a wonderful moment knowing that when they sang Silent Night, neither Suzanne nor I would be gulping down tears or gritting our teeth, because as we dealt with miscarriage after miscarriage, and then an adoption journey that stretched out several years longer than we had expected, we began to just dread Christmas and all the baby and childbirth references we were bombarded with at church during Advent and Christmas. But it was different this year. Frances sat with her mother and her godmother (she is being baptized on January 11) in the back of church, and flirted with one of the boys she met in our baptism class. In the row ahead of Suzanne was a family with a three year old girl they adopted from Chong Quing over a year ago--they asked us what our LID was, and it was only five months after theirs... ugh. I am so glad I don't have to monitor those LID matching cutoffs anymore (though I feel for those who do). The 4oclock service was okay--I kept remembering how thrilled my parents were when I was old enough to go to midnight mass so they could skip the service where, as my mother put it, you had the "snotty-nosed brat brigade decked out in full regalia." The priest sat down on the steps with several dozen children aged 4-7 and delivered the children's sermon--on an El Grecco painting.
By the time we went up for communion, Frances was sleeping in heavenly peace. Though she work up after services when the brat brigade was let loose in the church hall. After the service, Suz was helping the altar guild set up for the midnight mass, and I watched Frances. When she woke up, I took her back into the sanctuary and tried to take some Christmassy pictures, but being as she'd just woken up from her nap, she wasn't in the mood to be terribly cute. It was interesting to see who comes to the services--there were lots of faces I don't see anymore--the parish has gone through some "transitional angst." My mother had another saying about Episcopalians--"when the going gets tough, the tough become C & E's." Lots of C & E's were in attendance. 
We went home, and then our good friend Kevin stopped by. Every year since we've known Kevin, he had gone to midnight mass with us. And this year, he and I went to midnight mass. Suzanne stayed home with Frances. Christmas Eve tradition was that we also did something with our friend Jerri, but I think the long string of bad weather we've had made her decide to stay in Columbus. So Kevin and I went to midnight mass, and I was a bit surprised to see how many parents who had attended the 4 oclock service also came to the midnight mass--without the children in tow. The hymns are better, the choir is better, and you don't have to worry about the children acting up. 
So anyway, that was Christmas Eve. 
Christmas Day is still unfolding, and I will write about that later. (Frances is down for her nap, we're gearing up to head over to my cousin's in Hudsonville)


Suzer said...

Merry Christmas, Dale, Suzanne and Frances! Even though I know you only virtually, I can feel your joy in your new family status, and wish you all the peace and blessing the season has to offer.

Anonymous said...

I am very happy for all three of you.

Carol said...

I received the picture and card today. You all look so nice. The picture is going in my album. I am so happy for all three of you. Keep up this website. I look forward to it. Carol

Billy and Maggie said...

Sounds like a very nice holiday. There truly is a lot to be thankful for.

DH and I have a question we would like to email you privately about. thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Just wait until Frances is a member of the "brat brigade" as you so Christianly put that.