December 27, 28, and 29th were a whirlwind. I had my 4 children and Andrija (Henna's boyfriend), Cora (Christian's girl friend) and Olivia (Seth's girlfriend) all under one roof. I did not imagine how wonderful it was to have all of my children here enjoying each other.
Henna and Andrija arrived at 10:30pm on 27th, Saturday. Because Cora and Olivia needed to leave for Chicago early in the morning (7 am), the kids wanted to visit each other as long as possible. Henna and Andrija both loved Borcht (heavy meat Russian winter soup). Henna and Lizy planned something special for that night. They would give presents to each other. Exchanging gifts have not been our family tradition.
Growing up in Korean tradition, there was no Christmas and hence no tradition of exchanging gifts. My mother would buy things for us as she could afford them throughout the year and saved it. When winter break came, we could have it and just tell the kids at school that was our gift(s). So when my local church did not celebrate Christmas because it was not Christ's actual birthday, it was no loss to me. So we raised our kids without Christmas. Unlike me they wished there was Christmas and everything that came with it.
Now I realize, it's not so much Christmas tradition, but I wish I had fostered gift giving practice. To find joy in giving is precious gift for anyone. I heard Henna and Lizy planning what they wanted to give without telling anyone else. They spent long time planning out a gift(s) for everyone.
It must have been close to midnight on Saturday when we settled in our living room. The joy and delight could be felt as each person got a little something(s). I watched the scene with so much contentment. Christian opened his gift and found a secret treasure book. Lizy had spent days cutting out inner pages to carve out a secret compartment. The compartment was filled with little treasures. The tickle on Seth's face when he opened a box and found a teddy bear made with 10 pairs of socks. The bear was holding what looked like a candy, it actually was a flash drive. Henna received gloves, fragrant lotion, and more... all from her $5 a week allowance. Henna presented a special something to everyone. Because I knew the girls were doing this, I also prepared something for the kids. Oh the joy of giving and receiving.
Tom and I finally went to bed at 2:30 am. I don't know when the kids went to bed. Christian stayed up till 5 am. Tom and Christian had to wake up at 6:30am to take Cora and Olivia to train station at the airport. Wow what a day.
Rest of that day and the next was filled with little activities, just being together and loving every moment. Having everyone was the best gift given to Tom and I.