Christmas 2013 was a little different this year. Not bad, just different.
We still had steaks for dinner on Christmas Eve but the meat fork was manned by Chef Brad instead of Wayne. He did a fine job too, even if he's not used to a gas grill. Traditionalist that he is, he grills on charcoal. Wayne would have gotten a chuckle watching Brad and me light it. Knowing what to do and doing it are sometimes two different things. No worries; no fires or explosions were ignited in the process.
I was at the rehabilitation hospital at 9am to pick up Wayne. The nurses joked that it was just like junior high; my signature as the responsible party was required to check him out for the day. We were home just as the 19-year-old wandered out. It doesn't seem that long ago that she was up before dawn wanting to open presents. I'll admit...I like this schedule better.
There were plenty of gifts to unwrap and ooh and oh over. Kayla pledged to Phi Mu so her list included some sorority-related apparel. Grandpa and I were happy to fulfill her wish for this pretty pink shirt. And if you're confused like we were at first over the "fraternity" reference, it's because Phi Mu is the second oldest collegiate organization for women, predating the use of the word "sorority."
And Kayla returned the favor by getting something pink for me. I'll be both warm and pretty on my walks now. Wayne's gift was warm and pretty too but his pink morphed into red. Probably a good thing but he looks good in pink too.
There were plenty of opportunities for family photos in front of the Christmas tree. I can't stop time but the camera freezes bits and pieces that make me smile and fill my heart every time I look at them.
And that's true even when the picture is dark and far too grainy thanks to all those windows in the background. We were determined to sit down together as a family and it took a little creative thinking. When we couldn't figure out how to get Wayne scooted to the table, Brad cleverly suggested we just take the table to him. Then we all shifted around toward the corners so no one would bump his legs propped up underneath. It looked a little off-kilter but it worked.
We ate ham sandwiches instead of baked ham, potato chips instead of scalloped potatoes and fruit salad instead of cranberry salad but no one minded. I squeezed out time for one batch of snowflake cookies because, after all, it wouldn't be Christmas without them.
In the end, the differences really didn't matter. The "same" was just that...the same; we were together. We were prepared to take Christmas to the hospital to make that happen but it was even better that he was able to come home for the day. It's not hard to tell from this picture how happy he was to be there with his girl, is it?
Wayne went back to the hospital about 8pm and said he had the best night's sleep he's had since being admitted. I feel sure breathing a little home air had a lot to do with that.