Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas to Me

So, I haven't written about this as my mom reads my blog and I didn't want to spoil anything for her. But this Christmas proved the very best Christmas of all and here is why:

Darian came home from Bolivia to surprise everyone here in the States...

... and surprise everyone she did.

Darian and I? We pulled it off.

Back in October, Darian told me she wanted to come home if tickets were reasonable. And believe it or not, they were! I got her a ticket to Asheville and on December 13, she flew in at 11:30 p.m. Nobody in my family knew it except for me. Really. I deserve an award.

Now the picking her up at the airport at 11:30 part was tricky. That meant I had to leave the house to pick her up long after my bedtime without Roy being suspicious. I pondered that one for quite some time before I happened upon a plan that included Tammy Vaughan having a meltdown and needing my assistance at her house as Bob was gone to a convention.

It was a straight up lie. But? Considering the circumstances, it was justified.

And so, Sunday night at 10:00 I was hanging in the man's cave (with Roy) in my pajamas, freshly showered with wet hair--looking beautiful, of course--when the texts from Tammy started piling in. She was in the midst of emotional chaos due to a chain of events that she could not control and she was spiraling quickly, as evidenced by the frantic texts. And so, I started the conversation..."Uh-oh...Tammy's upset." Roy seemed unfazed.

A bit later..."Oh wow..."

A few seconds later..."Hey, Roy...Tammy is really upset. I think I need to go over to her house for a bit as Bob is gone to a convention."

That got his attention. He scowled. "What? You're already in your pajamas. It's after 10:00. You have work tomorrow. Can't you just call her?"

I would not be persuaded. Roy is well aware that when my feet are solidly planted?

I shall not be, I shall not be moved.  (That's a song.)

"Roy? If Tammy says she wants me to come over, and it's already 10:00 at night, clearly she needs someone there. I'm not leaving her stranded."

Thankfully, I managed to get through this with a concerned face rather than a laughing uproariously face. The only way that happened is I firmly believed it was all true. Tammy was, in fact, at least in my head, having a meltdown. She needed me. I needed to go. NOW.

Maybe I should be in Hollywood.

Anyway, I quickly changed into something a little more sightly than my pajamas and headed out the door while Roy sat in his chair stone-faced and probably a tad annoyed at my neighborliness. Meanwhile, Tammy was parked in the church parking lot. She quickly switched over to my car and off we went to the airport. Now she didn't have to join at this point, but it was, of course, far more fun having her along.

Darian came in right on time and it was so good to see her that I couldn't help but cry a bit and hug her close and beg her--at least in my head--to never ever ever ever leave our house again. Ah--was she ever a sight for sore eyes.

And so we drove her home, laughing and chatting it up while my heart swelled a thousand times bigger than it had ever been before.

She woke Roy up first. It was precious to behold. He was in bed, asleep, and I turned on the light. He opened his eyes to Darian peering down at him and he lit up like the sun, grinning ear to ear. "Tammy wasn't having a meltdown, was she?"

We sneaked back downstairs and Darian waited in the living room while Roy woke up Savana. "Savana! Hurry! Come into the living room! Quick!"

Savana does not wake up with her brain in full gear. It's more like she sleep walks in the midst of a dream and it takes her a minute to come back down to earth. And so, in her head, the house was on fire and she needed to run on tippy toes to avoid burning her feet. And so here she comes, running frantically on her tippy toes behind Roy in an "S" fashion to the living room. And then she saw her. And then she fell apart. And they hugged for what seemed forever while Savana sobbed and held Darian so closely that I wondered if Darian could breathe.

For Jace? Darian flat out pounced on him while he lay in a dead sleep in the dark. We flipped on the lamp beside his bed so that Jace could recognize the intruder who was bounding into the midst of his dreamworld. He barely opened his eyes and said, "Darian? What are you doing here?" It was a quick moment of elation but then just as quickly, he rolled over and said, "I'm so tired. Turn off the light."

That boy. He is such a mess. But oh my word does he have my heart.

And so it went. Darian went to Southern for a day to surprise her friends and her cousins. She soaked it all up and basked in the glory of all of the love that just poured out from every corner.

My mom was the last person to be surprised. We kept it from my dad and Jo as well, but Savana spilled the beans before Darian walked in and so it wasn't quite so grand. Anyway, we met Mom at Huhots in Oklahoma City and she had no idea that Darian was with us. It was the cutest thing ever watching Mom's face light up at the sight of Darian. I wish I captured it on video but, sadly, I didn't.

It has been such a merry Christmas. Everyone was so generous with gifts and our family Christmas day was absolutely perfection. Savana is my chef and she headed up a scrumptious breakfast that was divine. And then we opened gifts in our traditional way that takes quite a lot of time but we soak in every moment as it's filled with so much love and joy. And then we played table games and dined on homemade pizza later that afternoon. We finished off the day at the theater: Creed. Ah--great movie.

A few days later we had Christmas in Oklahoma and though it was short, it was perfect.

But without any doubt, the most perfect gift of all, is that Darian came home and is sleeping in her bed right now. She will leave soon--Tuesday of next week: January 5. It will break my heart to hug her goodbye. But for now? Well, my world is complete and I shall enjoy each moment because, really, that's what life is about.


And living them, each one of them, to the best of our ability.

Merry Christmas to me.


  1. THAT WAS JUST SO WONDERFUL AND FUN. Still can't believe we pulled it off. Being home with all the fam is the greatest thing in the world. I love you!

  2. Thank you for letting me be a part of the surprise!! It was so much fun!!!!! Sooooooo great to see that gorgeous girl!!

  3. What a wonderful surprise you were able to give everyone. And I know it's probably the best Christmas gift you'll ever get. As I was reading what you wrote I had tears streaming down my face. We got a wonderful surprise like that this year, with Sam and family coming home. So I know exactly what you felt like. God is good.

  4. Ugh. Cried all over again reading this as to relive Ren's grand surprise. That truly was the best Christmas gift in the world. I love and adore a billion times over, our little family.


Diamonds Everywhere

I read a study recently that said that greatest single indicator of a long life well-lived is deep social connections. Of course, there are...