It started on the 22nd, actually, when we were all unpacking groceries in the kitchen after a delightful (and delicious) trip to Costco, (the Center of the Universe, according to Jaynee and now me, too!) Guy just looked at me, and in front of all our kids, asked if I'd make him the happiest man on the planet and marry him. The kids were excited, I was excited, and I said yes, of course. He put a REALLY pretty ring on my finger, where it will stay the rest of my life. I am so excited to marry him! He is my true love, and is the most caring, loving, gentle, patient and kind man I have ever known. Even if we are simply doing chores, or sorting mail, or flipping channels, I just LOVE being with him, and near him. Try not to gag, but we sometimes just look at each other over our readers and smile. His eyes sparkle when he looks at me, and my heart just pounds. Ally says, "blech!" Bobby interrupts our hugs and says, "you guys are the cutest couple ever!" and steals his own hug away from Guy or me. So anyway, Ally wants us to get married on a cruise, Pod wants us to get married in Duluth where we met, and Bobby just says, "tomorrow!"
After we got engaged on the 22nd. Honey, thank you for not making me wait until Christmas!
So here we are. Engaged! At last! It has been a long strange trip getting here, but we arrived in one piece, and the kids couldn't be more thrilled. Nor could we. I love you, Guy. Thank you so much for loving me and loving us.
Guy has this great, non-dysfunctional family. They have a schedule of family events all year long, around all the holidays. They're like a pot-luck, loved-filled, happy, series of gatherings. We went to his parents' house for Christmas Eve. His mom made spaghetti and his sister Pam made lasagna. (So delish that I had both, but it's the holidays, and what fun would New Years be if I didn't need to lose a couple pounds?!) We sipped wine, told stories, listened to all the kids and cousins laughing. Then we opened presents. Oh. My. Gosh. Do his parents do "presents"... wow. The kids were in total awe and amazement. Every single item on their lists was under Grandma and Grandpa's tree. And then some. They both kept saying, "this is the best Christmas ever!!"
So we had this great Christmas Eve. Like I said earlier, The kids got everything they had on their lists. But when we got into the car to go home, Bobby grabbed my shoulder from the back seat and said, "Mom, I got everything I ever wanted for Christmas." I said, "I know! I can't believe you got an XBox 360 from Grandma and Grandpa!!" He said, "no, what I mean is I got a real family. That is so much better than all the presents. I always wanted that. And nobody was drunk or high, either."
It was so sweet. Bittersweet. He has said this at least two more times since that day. It's so sad that, until Guy came around, I had not been able to provide that for him. I think he has friends at school who have these normal, amazing, extended families, and they hang out with their cousins and do stuff with them... and I guess Bobby always secretly pined for it. Now he has it. I don't think we could have lucked out like this, with all the kids' relationships and instant love for one another, without Divine intervention. There is just no way that it was just chance that they all get along so well.
On Christmas Day we opened our own gifts to each other at our house:
Pod gave me the running headphones I desperately wanted! Thanks, Pod!!!!! I have the worst-shaped ears for ear buds and they fall out constantly and I whine about it constantly, but now I have the kind that hangs behind your neck. Phew. Thanks, Pod!
Bobby really wanted a new study NIV - the kind Guy has - so we gave him his own for Christmas. He was really pumped 'cause we also put tabs on the fringes for easy reference!
Hugs all around for Bobby getting the Bible he wanted.
Ally and Pod probably sharing a laugh about the crazy, insane amount of Justin Bieber items Ally got for Christmas.
... And then we went to Guy's sister Lisa's house, for you guessed it - more pot-luck and fellowship. We ate her awesome ham and green beans, watched a movie, the kids hung out, and then we got in the car to go home and again Bobby said, "I have a family!!" Grinning so wide that surely his face had to be sore.
When Guy and I sit and marvel at it, we know that these kids will grow up together, calling and texting each other, visiting each other at college, being in each other's weddings, godparents to each other's kids... It is so beautiful. And we are so undeserving, and so incredibly thankful.
Today, the 26th, we slept kinda late, went to church, hung out, and then our own "little family" went snowshoeing.
Pod and Bobby taking a rest at the gazebo.
Boys and Sticks. It's a universal picture. You could insert your own kids here. ;-)
So here we are, chilling out (chil-axing as Ally calls it) and thinking about how blessed we are. Guy and I rescued each other. Not with the timing that the textbooks would have liked, and we made mistakes like everyone does. Maybe more. But we did the best we could, and the best we knew how to do at the time, and we landed in a peaceful, blessed place. I wish there were words to express our gratitude. God had a plan for us. Not so much just for Guy and me, but a peaceful, fulfilling, blessed, comfortable place for Bobby and Ally and Pod.
As Bobby and Ally kept saying, "It was the best Christmas ever."