I was supposed to be addressing Christmas cards. Mostly, though, I sat at the table wondering where the joy had gone. I used to love to look for just the right card to send. Then I would lovingly address each one and include a personal note. Now I do good to get them mailed, and occasionally I send picture cards so people will remember what we look like.
Suddenly my cell phone beeped. It was time to pick up Allie from ballet and Josh from soccer practice. I put a sticky note on the front door asking 14 year-old Kate to make a salad for supper when she got home from band practice.
We rushed back in the door. “It’s almost 7:00! Allie, go upstairs and get your shower. Josh, you can use my shower.” I pushed them in the direction of the stairs.
I carried their backpacks to the dining room. Kate was sitting there looking at the Christmas cards. “Mom, who are George and Heidi Moore?”
“I went to college with Heidi, why?” I asked.
“Well, they live here in Sprinfield, and I’m not even sure who they are. What about Jim and Greta Springer?”
“They’re your dad’s cousin. Aunt Irma is Jim’s mom. Come on, help me set the kitchen table. Your dad will be home any minute.”
As we moved to the kitchen, she said “I don’t know who Aunt Irma is. I’m 14, and I’ve never met Jim and Greta. Mom, they only live six blocks from here.”
“Maybe they’ll be at the family reunion this summer.” I said, as my husband Grant walked into the kitchen.
I gave him a kiss “Supper’s almost ready. Kate, go check on Allie. Honey could you go check on Josh’s shower. He’s in our bathroom. I heard the water go on. He should be about done.” I quickly finished setting the table.
After dinner, Grant went to watch TV in the family room, and I got Allie and Josh settled with their homework at the dining room table. I threw Josh’s soccer stuff into wash and came back to check on them. Kate was looking at the cards again. “Mom, this name sounds familiar. Jay and Linda Small. Who is that?”
“Don’t you remember? They used to go to our church. Miss Linda was your Kindergarten Sunday School teacher.”
“I remember – she used to bring warm muffins every morning in case we didn’t have breakfast. I always took one, even though I already ate. How come we don’t see them anymore?”
“Well, they started going to Mt. Hope instead of our church.”
“Does that mean we’re not friends with them anymore?”
“Of course not! I send them a Christmas card every year. Like when Julie moved and now you guys email instead of see each other all the time”
“Yeah, but Julie moved 500 miles away. These people still live right here.”
As I was addressing cards a couple of days later, I thought about all of the people who lived in Springfield who we send Christmas cards to. There were at least 10 families. They were all either relatives or good friends who we had drifted away from. I talked to my husband and we decided that we should have a Christmas open house so we could see them again. So instead of the usual Christmas card, they got an invitation.
Most of the families were able to come. When Grant’s cousin Jim and his wife Greta came in, they had Greta’s son Connor with them. Kate looked at Connor and said “Hey, you’re on my team at school.” They quickly started talking about which teachers they liked and which they didn’t.
A little girl from Allie’s ballet class, walked in the door. Her mother, my college friend Heidi, and her husband walked in the door behind her.
“Heidi, I know I haven’t seen you at Allie’s ballet class.”
“I broke my ankle and my neighbor has been taking her.”
The girls went off gigling, and Heidi and I sat and caught up with each other.
Our friends Jay and Linda were the only ones who couldn’t come. Their baby Emily was sick. We’ve seen them since then, and Kate is now one of their favorite babysitters. Jim and Greta started coming to our church and always pick Kate up for youth group. Heidi and I now talk almost every day, and our daughers have weekly play dates.
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