My grown-up Christmases continued along, spending them mostly with my husband's small unhappy family, and rushing to Toronto, five hours away from my home outside Ottawa to spend at least some time with my family as well. All that travelling took the edge off of the festivities somewhat because I would be too tired to enjoy everyone once I got there.
Then the babies started to come and of course that gives Christmas new meaning once again. When my oldest daughter was one, and I was pregnant with my second, I had some minor complications with the pregnancy (baby due in February) and my doctor suggested I not travel at Christmas. My parents were only too happy to come to us, and my sister spent Christmas with her in-laws. I was grateful to my parents, and even though that made our numbers a little larger, there still seemed to be something missing from my Christmas.
On Christmas morning my sister called around 6 am, knowing that I would be up, and said that her kids had been up since five and they had already opened all of their presents and were on their way to her in-laws to spend the day.
As my husband, my parents and I enjoyed watching my little girl (only one year old) and getting the food ready for Christmas dinner which my in-laws would be joining us for, I couldn't help but think of all of the past Christmases.... and then at around noon, a car rolled into our driveway.... it looked like my sister and her family, but how????????????????? They had been preparing the surprise all along, everyone knew but me.
I ran out into the cold, sobbing tears of joy, and took my sister into my arms. Right then I knew what had been missing in all of my adult Christmases, not all of those cousins or traditions, or even being in the home where I grew up, just my sister, my best friend, my one constant in my life. As joyful as that Christmas was, I think I spent half of it crying, every time I would look at my dear sister. We promised each other that day, that whenever possible, from now on, we would spend our Christmases together.
And we did, whenever possible. I am thankful for that one constant in my life, my sister. There have been many changes since then, and so many more to come. My sister and I now live miles away from one another, me here in central Ontario, and her in North Carolina, but she is still a constant. We chat on the phone almost every day, and every Christmas morning she calls to wish me Merry Christmas and we both know that each other is thinking about the Christmases past, when we were together, two giggling sisters, through childhood, and motherhood, sicknesses, and health, good times and bad times. We still giggle when we are together as if we were only 10 and 12. We will laugh at things that no one else thinks is funny except us, the two sisters. When we are together it is always like Christmas!