“We’re almost at Amy’s house.” I turned to look at the girls.
“Mommy, why are we having Christmas at Amy’s house?” Abby pulled her coat on.
John stopped the car at the end of a long line. “You know Gramma doesn’t have room for everybody at her and Grandpa Cliff’s house.”
“Why do we have to have everybody? Why can’t it just be Gramma like always?” Hannah whined.
Opening the door, I reached to open the car seats. “Because Gramma is married to Grandpa Cliff now, and we need to include his family too. Besides, if it was just Gramma you wouldn’t have cousins to play with.”
“Don’t want cousins, want Gramma!” The pouts disappeared as soon as Amy’s daughter Emily yelled at the girls to hurry so they could play dress-up.
Cliff’s son Alex and Amy’s husband Tom came to help John carry gifts and food in. Tom told me to go on in and that the girls were in the kitchen.
As I walked through the door and turned to the left, I peeked around the corner. My mom was there along with Cliff’s daughters Amy, Anna, Alyssa and his daughter-in-laws Julie and Karen. Amy noticed me and came over and pulled me into the controlled chaos.
Soon I was mashing potatoes and ducking ice as Alyssa filled the glasses and tried to put ice down everyone’s back. We laid everything out on Amy’s big island. We had Cliff’s family’s traditional turkey and our family’s traditional brisket. When the massive amount of food was ready, we turned the TV off on the men and pulled the kids from the playroom.
We all gathered around the tables put end to end from the dining room into the family room. There was Amy and Tom and their two kids; Anna and Jay; Adam and Julie and little Mandy; Andy and Karen and their 4 kids; Alyssa, Alex, my mom, Cliff and John and the girls and I.
Cliff prayed. “God thank you for this food that you have provided for us, and thank you for this holiday where we can celebrate Jesus birth. Thank you that we can all gather here to enjoy our new family.”
After dinner, we all sat in the family room. Amy and I were elected to be present passers. There were so many gifts that the kids all had stacks of boxes they couldn’t see over. After we all opened everything from each other, Cliff and my mom passed out things to the kids and then faced the group. “You all will have to wait on your presents for just a little while.” Cliff stood and reached his hand to pull my mom to her feet. “Joan and I have something we want to say. First, thank you for the cruise that you all got us. It’s the perfect gift. Secondly, we want you to know that we set up a family portrait for the third Sunday in January. We really want everyone to be there. We want a picture of our whole family. Now Joan is passing out our Christmas cards, and you all will each find something special in your card. We want you to know how much we love you, and Merry Christmas.”
The kids went back to finish playing dress-up -- their new toys forgotten in the thrill of playing with their new cousins. Abby and Hannah were getting tired though, and we left soon after that.
The phone rang as I came downstairs from putting the girls to bed. I saw that it was Mom and Cliff’s number. I listened to my mom as I sat down in the semi-dark living room.
“Were you ok tonight, Sarah?”
“Sure, Mom, but when I was little, and I prayed for a brother or sister, I didn’t think I would get six all at once. Seriously though, I’m glad you found Cliff. He has been so wonderful for you after what you went through when Daddy passed away. Having brothers and sisters is just an added benefit.”
“I love Cliff so much, and I’m so glad that you kids got along ok.”
“Mom, I think you can look forward to many more wonderful Christmases with all of your kids, and I’m looking forward to our family portrait. I want to be able to show all of those brothers and sisters off”
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