The in-laws were thoroughly surprised to see us. We had told them last week we were not going to be able to make it this year because of Alexa's job, but we decided we did not want to spend our first Christmas as man and wife alone. Unlike most people, who hate their in-laws, I enjoy coming to see Alexa's parents, it is never a dull moment at their house.
The next morning I woke up to a stuffy nose and dry throat, which was not the state I would have chosen for Christmas morning. Thankfully, I have a wonderful wife who got me medication and let me sleep until 11:30am. By the time I had gotten up, the whole family was downstairs preparing lunch, which consisted of potato casserole and honey baked ham. It does not seem like much, but we were snacking on pigs-in-a-blanket, smoked wienies, veggie tray, and cookies for appetizers before everything was done cooking. While sitting at the lunch table, which was decorated with Christmas decor, I realized how important family is. Family, while painfully frustrating at times, is the glue that keeps us all together. Without our families we could not survive. There were eight of us around the table for lunch; the parents, Alexa's two sisters and their men, and finally my wife and I. While eating lunch, Alexa and her sisters were telling stories of years long ago when they were children playing and terrorizing each other. It was a joy to watch my wife light up around her family, remembering experiences from her childhood. It made me think of times with my siblings and I realized I need to create more memories with my family, because I could not remember anything except times my brother or sister and I were fighting. Family and life are only temporary and should not be taken for granted. Cherish those good times with family and never stop having fun.
Following dinner, we all moved into the living room, where we passed out gifts. The gifts were nice, but the real gift was spending time with family. I'm glad we decided to make the trip in the middle of the night to come. I'm reminded of a quote from the animated movie, Kung Fu Panda, where the turtle says, "The past is history, the future is a mystery, but now is gift, that is why it is called 'present'." God bless and Merry Christmas everyone. Remember to spend some time with the ones who know you the best, your family.