John, Zack and I traveled to North Carolina for Christmas, hoping little TJ would have made an appearance prior to our arrival. He had not.
We arrived late on the evening of Dec. 22nd and there was confusion at the hotel...three rooms booked instead of two and none of them adjoining nor connecting. Not possible when traveling with Zack ( not to mention John and Zack were sharing a suitcase and traipsing through the hotel halls in their skivvies was pretty much out of the question...). After a bit of late night drama and the arrival of someone who actually knew how to use the computer we did get rooms next door to each other...the best that could be done at the moment.
By 11:00pm we were in the rooms, by 1:00am showered and collapsed into our beds. At 3:00am the phone rang and Melissa was in labor. Tom dropped Bella off with Nono and picked me up. By the time we got Melissa into the hospital, all the necessary forms had been filled out, checks made (yup, really labor) and into a room, TJ had nearly arrived, showing up at the fashionable hour of 7:01am. Beautiful baby, great delivery....blissful parents, proud grandparents and thrilled big sister.
They came home on Christmas eve and later John, Thomas and I went to midnight mass at St. Michael the Archangel Chapel. What an amazing place to find on an Army base. I know Ft. Bragg is ginormous but who whould have thought they would have a mini-Cathedral!! So very beautiful...with a traditional cuppola and sides flanked by balconies. Finely wrought stained glass...not the modern stuff with huge pieces of glass, but intricately fitted and leaded pictures of art made in glass. Rare here.
Then Christmas day cooking an abbreviated version...all the basics but with so few people and always too much food, this was a good thing. I didnt feel deprived....rather nice to have a small celebration, completely present to His grace and goodness, seeing the fraility of Jesus in the newborn son of my daughter, enjoying His fruits of the field with family and worshiping in a place that glorifies his Kingship.
We were to leave on the 27th and be home in time to welcome the family who were all coming for New Year. On the 26th it started snowing... In North Carolina snow is not a familiar substance and driving on same presents a challenge for the natives. Serious challenge. Hoo-boy.
Also presented a challenge to the airlines and those, like us, who were supposed to fly the fiendish skys with them. Or not. For two more days we didnt. Not all bad, considering we got to spend two more days with the newbie TJ.
But stressful, knowing 1) Tia, Dave and tribe would arrive on the 27th whether or not we were there and 2) They had no keys : not to either the condo or the house. Tessa and Joseph saved the day by leaving Colorado a day early ( no easy feat when dealing with 2 teens, a tween and an Alaskan Huskey !) and got the condo open and warmed up. Tia stopped by Dad's truck in long term parking at ABQ airport and together Tess and Tia got the house opened and the food Tess brought got refrigerated or frozen ( for 20 mouths, we shop wholesale sizes in everything, including toilet paper...).
Melissa and Tom and tribe and Josh and Liz were supposed to fly in within hours of each other. The McKenna flight was delayed and although they were at the connecting gate prior to departure, their seats had been given away. Josh and Liz called to say they were still at the gate and waiting...delayed too. What blessings that they all still arrived that day and only a few hours late.
For the first time in many years, we were all together and wow how we have grown. Twenty. God bless them each and every one.