On Tuesday night, I load the bags into the car of my wife and two daughters. The sight as you can imagine is my small carry on and seven of the largest suit cases that you have ever seen. I always tell my wife that my purpose on this journey is to act as the mule and haul this stuff around for them. We are on our way to California for Christmas to unite with our two sons, our daughter, four grandchildren and of course the rest of the family clan.
We fly without incident to San Jose, which is always a great feat as we need no additional stress for our holiday journey. We arrive and this year given our luggage requirements and destinations, we rent two cars. This was great as I get a RAV 4 and my wife got a fuel efficient car to remain nameless. Trunk space is key as we head to the cars. I load up seven of the suit cases in my car and I see my wife struggling to get the one bag into her car. Now if you know my wife, this isn’t going to do and she calls the attendant for a change. My daughter and I are rolling as we have seen this story before.
We head to my son’s house and the only thing that is going against us is it is raining. Thank goodness we are in Northern California as you may have seen on the news Southern California is getting slammed with rain, which is resulting in flooding. We unload the car and head into my son’s house. Most of you may know that California has high priced homes that are small in size. In fact my son’s home is 1200 sq. feet with one bathroom. Hmm, 6 adults, 2 children and two dogs and one bathroom. Our granddaughter, Taylor, gave up her room for us and we had the pleasure of sleeping in the princess suites where every Walt Disney princess is on display.
My mornings are up early as we have daily 8:30am meetings with the team in San Antonio. The subject is my favorite as it speaks to the time of year,the forecast. Now 8:30am means 6:30am because of the two hour time change. I stumble through bodies to get to the kitchen to make some coffee, check the reports and get ready for the call. I hear my daughter who is on the couch asking if I know what time it is. My best bet is a no reply as I continue the call. The news from the team shows good signs of progress, so thank you team!
After the call, I get a text from my oldest daughter who asks if I can baby sit the two boys for her to go to work for a while. Well of course I will, so I tell my wife we are heading over to see the kids and she says you have to fly solo due to shopping that she still needs to do. Ok, I have had experience in this, I know the drill and I convince myself that I can do it. I get a bonus as Jacob is sleeping and Lucas is content to watch Nemo. I like Nemo so we snuggle on the coach and watch the movie. Now I don’t hear so good and Lucas says grandpa Jacob is awake! I jump up and head to his room. I pick him up and of course a diaper change is in order. Did I say I was experienced in this?
I did say I have two sons, but one has been noticeably absent. Mark graduated this year from college and after a long time has a girlfriend, Mary. This has been a great experience for him but now we don’t see him as much, as he is consumed with love. Ahh, to be young and in love. As I thought about it, I did the same thing when my wife and I first got together, so I guess it’s normal. To see them together always brings a smile to my face. Happiness is the reason for living.
So, what does this all mean? As I sit here writing this with a smile on my face everyone is asking why I am smiling? Outside, Kayla, Kelly, Taylor and Anthony are outside in the driveway playing basketball. Patty and Jen are cooking in the kitchen preparing for the gathering tonight. Mary and Mark are sitting at the table filling us in on their plans for the evening. Neil is out finishing some last minute shopping and picking up the table and chairs for the dinner. We make plans to go to church at 4:00pm which is always fun, where we take up two rows in the church.
It is the day before Christmas, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse, but unlike the song things are rocking within the Cuen clan. Traveling to San Jose for Christmas is a pain. Getting everyone together at the same time is a real pain. Stuffing the entire family into one house is a pain. Getting everything ready for dinner and for our Christmas Eve celebration is a pain. Going to church with 20 people is a pain. Cleaning up after its all over is a pain. Yet, ever year, since 1998 we gather together for this ritual.
I admit it is a pain, but I also have to say that it’s worth every minute. The smiles, the stories and even the hardships are blessings. It may not always be pretty but it is always full of love and good intentions. For me, it is all about them and has little to do with me, although I am blessed to be part of it. I am blessed on this Christmas Eve morning to remember why love, peace, good tidings and family are so important. Today is a day of thanksgiving, loving others more than yourself, doing something for someone in need and remembering that at times it may be a pain, but anything worthwhile usually takes some blood sweat and tears to bring love and joy to those around you.
Remember, “why”, Merry Christmas Everyone!
Posted under General
This post was written by FJ on December 26, 2010