As we’ve packing in preparation for our departure, facing the task of paring down our worldly possessions to the size of a storage pod, we realized that we have to like something an awful lot to pay to keep it but not use it for the next two years. Also, taking into consideration that we may be settling in Albuquerque, a lot of what has been acquired in Pennsylvania will just look silly in the southwest. So we have been ruthlessly jettisoning. It’s become something of a joke for my friends to greet me by saying, “So what are you selling today?”
After some discussion, Craig and I decided to sell the dining room table and chairs. The listing languished on Craigslist and Facebook for quite a while, but then we got a call from a sweet young couple who had just purchased their first house. They came to see it, they loved it, they handed us a fat roll of twenties. It’s a deal.
The husband was a master at fitting all the pieces into his vehicle, and they were soon on the way to their new home. They were clearly thrilled with their purchase, and we were happy for them. We waved good-bye, and stepped back into the house. There was now a yawning hole where the table used to sit. In unison Craig and I reached for our hearts and cried, “Oh!” We both experienced a pang at the sight of that empty room. We’d spent a lot of time around that table – shared a lot of meals with friends and relatives, ate a lot of good food with people we loved. It hurt to acknowledge the end of those times in that place.
Craig and I have seven kids. Three of them now have partners, and there is one adorable grandchild. Our tradition since 2006 has been to gather at our house on Christmas Eve for the late service, then exchange of presents, and a massive free-for-all sleepover. Wall to wall kids, and we loved every minute of it. On Christmas morning, pots and pots of coffee, a huge cheese tray, and the famous Reuben loaves for brunch.
Every year, we waited to hear that one of the kiddos wasn’t going to make it. We fully expected that they would be the reason things changed. And now here we are, pulling the plug on the family Christmas tradition. Kids, do you forgive us?