Saturday, December 29, 2007

My Best Christmas Gift Ever!

My boys laugh at me because every year when we put up our Christmas tree I say "it's the prettiest tree we've ever had" and for the last 4 or 5 years we've had an artificial tree. This year I got the best gift ever -- having BOTH of my sons with me on Christmas when I expected only one.

Michael, my younger son, has been in China this past year, teaching English at a university in Louyang City. I knew he wasn't going to be able to make it home for Christmas and was looking forward to seeing him in the U.S. when he came for a visit in January.

I was perplexed when my older son, Rodrigo, who lives in the L.A. area, began insisting that I drive from my northern Cali home to my parents' home for Christmas (they also live in the L.A. area). I had spent last Christmas with my mom and dad, I was just home from an 8-week sailing trip, and I really wanted to just stay home and relax. He kept it up, though, and even enlisted my mom's help in persuading me! Finally, I agreed, and drove the six hours to my parent's home. Well, the morning after I arrived I was expecting Rodrigo and his fiancee, Dianna, when I heard the doorbell ring. I went to answer it and who walked in right behind Rodrigo but Michael!!

Michael had drafted pretty much my entire family in an elaborate scheme to surprise me and boy did it work! I had NO idea that something like that was in the works. What a wonderful Christmas it has been! I never would have hoped to have had the chance to take the above photo of Michael on Christmas morning. Best of all, Michael will be in the U.S. for about 7 weeks and, in spite of having lots of family and friends he wants to visit, will be able to spend time with me because, as everyone knows, no one misses you like your mom, especially at Christmastime!

Here's my family as we gathered for Christmas Dinner at my mom's house. This is only a fraction of the members of my family as over the years we've become a frighteningly large group! And an ever-changing one, too, as we add a never-ending stream of spouses, in-laws, and new babies.
This most heartfelt wish I can offer you this year is that your Christmas was as wonderful as mine, and that you have just as much hope and optimism for the upcoming new year!

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