Thursday, December 25, 2008

Home for Christmas

For the last two weeks, I have been thinking that Justin was not going to make it home for Christmas. Then a few days ago, I learned that he would be here but it would be at the end of the day. So, thankful that I would at least have him home for a few days...and at the end of Christmas day, and disappointed that there would be no morning wake-up call in anticipation of the presents we would exchange...I went to bed, in prayer...asking God to keep my heart in check as it was not focused on the real reason for celebrating. I went to bed at 3:00 a.m.

After 3 hours of sleep, I recieved a phone call.

"Merry Christmas" said the voice on the other end of the line. It wasn't long in my foggy state of mind before I recognized that the voice was that of my own son.

"Justin, it's 4:00 am there, what are you doing up?" I responded.

"Oh, I'm excited about my trip home today and I couldn't sleep. So, I went out for a run and decided to give you a call and say, Merry Christmas!"

"Well," I said with my early morning cracking voice, "you are the first to wish me a Merry Christmas, today. Thank you. Now, I don't know about you, but I have only had 3 hours sleep so I'm going to go back to sleep."

"Okay, Mom, I'll call you when I get to the airport. I love you and Merry Christmas"

This is just a rough recollection of the actual conversation that took place this morning as my son was about to blow my mind. The plan was that I would go to the airport and pick him up Christmas night. It would be late when we got home and Christmas definitely would be different from those in the past when both kids would wake me up at six in the morning to get permission to open their stockings while I slept a little longer, then they would come in a little later and ask if they could open their gifts. We would not share Christmas dinner with Justin and there would be an emptiness in my heart.

This year is our last year in our home here in west TN as Tiff and I will be moving to Atlanta next summer. It was our last opportunity to be in our home for Christmas as a framily with Sue. It seemed as if my hopes of having a traditional framily Christmas were shot. So, on with the story...

I hung up the phone only to hear a knock at the door a few minutes later. I went to my daughter's room to ask if she knocked. She answered, "No, but I heard a knock."

By this time I started to feel a bit uneasy. The thought did cross my mind that perhaps it might be Justin but I quickly dismissed it. I went to the front door and called, "Who is it?"

The voice on the other side of the door replied, "It's Tim."

Tim is Justin's best friend who had stopped by to visit the day before. He was leaving to go out of town and would not be around to visit with Justin over the five dayse that he would be home. I assumed he had forgotten something. I did hope faintly that maybe he was going to surprise me with a special "Christmas present"..but it was only a faint hope.

I opened the door to see Tim standing there alone. There I was in my bed head, bad breath, and all the rest of my morning "glory", wondering why Tim was at my house so early on Christmas morning. At this point, I didn't believe that he had any kind of surprise. He said, "Merry Christmas Ms. Katrina!" Then I heard another voice that I instantly recognized say, "Merry Christmas Mom!"

It was still dark and I couldn't see more than a shadow moving towards me and I ran towards that shadow screaming at the top of my lungs and bawling! I wrapped my arms around him and kept saying, "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!" over and over!

You would think that somebody in my home would have come running with a baseball bat or something to save me. But, nooooooooo Sue and my daughter deemed it a safer place to stay in their rooms and let me deal with the "bad guys" that were "attacking" me (at least that is what they were thinking might be going on because of the screams they were hearing!)

Finally, Tiffany came out and eventually, so did Sue...all of us in our nasty morning garb, looking "like dump" as Tiff would put it...then, there was Justin, all dressed nice in his jeans and new shirt we had given to him in Chicago. He had been traveling all night, arrived in Nashville at midnight, had his friends pick him up, then went home with them to visit before coming to wake me up on Christmas morning!

Eighteen years ago, two weeks after my birthday, I received a special package from God. I named him Justin. I got a son for my birthday. I never thought about ever receiving him again in the future for a Christmas present too!

So, the tradition continued one final Christmas in our home as a framily together when my kids asked me if they could open their stockings. I went back to bed just long enough for them to come down a second time and ask me to get up to open gifts.

The only thing that was different was that this year, Justin had been up all night traveling and started dozing off while opening his gifts! THAT'S NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!

Later, the framily all worked together to prepare Christmas dinner. We picked up our former neighbor just like in years past (but she is in a nursing home now) and celebrated God's abundance as we shared in our Christmas/Thanksgiving dinner one final time. We wound down at the end of the night by attempting to watch the Nativity. Sue was the only one who stayed awake through the whole thing. I did wake up to see the most important part at the bring Christmas home in the heart...the birth of my Savior, the King of Kings, our Lord who is Jesus Christ.

Thank You, Father for a very special last traditional framily Christmas together in our home.

It has been the most wonderful Christmas to remember!

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