Our family was so blessed to be able to host our big annual family Christmas party this past Saturday. Over the last few years, we've all agreed that celebrating with our very big extended family BEFORE the actual holiday works out really nice, leaving the big day more relaxed and quiet and meant for quality time with our little families. With each passing year, our family just keeps growing and growing, more babies around every corner, my little cousins not so little anymore, girlfriends and boyfriends that will soon become official spouses. But we still get together despite the growing guest list, knowing how special this time together is and appreciating each other and the gift that is family.
I think I counted 50 heads in our house that night. Fifty LOUDLY talking heads full of life and love. The little kids serenaded us with Christmas carols, our cousin Daniel impressing us with his skills on the piano. The women all chimed in for a heartfelt round of "Silent Night" and I was overcome with emotion as I took it all in. The food was amazing, as usual, and I ate my weight in meatballs and honey baked ham and spinach dip. The adults played a rowdy game of "Dirty Santa" and Shawn and I were stoked when we ended up with a hand painted lamp for the kitchen. There was a fire in the outdoor fireplace, mistletoe for stealing kisses, and girl talk around the dining room table. But the best part, by far, was the amazing fireworks show that Shawn and my uncles and cousins put together in our front yard. We all gathered on the front porch and stood under the big country sky and watched in amazement as they lit up the night with color and sound. It was magical.
We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking and catching up, laughing until we cried. And when I finally made it to bed, exhausted and deliriously happy, it occurred to me that this is Christmas as an adult. Not looking forward to surprises and gifts and receiving, but instead enjoying the people, the gift giving, the time spent together. These are the moments that make me feel like the richest girl in the world.