"We sit around the living room, television playing – sharing laptops, competing to pull up the funniest video, talking, laughing, eating. For now, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is playing, and we're half-way watching it. Pausing to interject comments, laugh hysterically, imitate and expound on whatever is happening on the screen. Mom brings over some cookies. Sugar cookies, cut out in nativity shapes and painted with colored evaporated milk. Naturally we start eating them. Camels, trees, Marys and Josephs, and of course, the baby Jesus. Dad starts arranging them, talking quietly to himself, while Ellie and I try to keep our hysterics silent so we can listen and he will continue undisturbed. “hmm...camels don't live in the forest.” He says, picking one up out of the trees and biting off its head. “The holy mother. Another holy mother. The not-so-holy father, and another holy mother. Holy mother triplets.” I grip Ellie's hand and she slaps her knee as we rock back and forth in silent laughter, until, finally, unable to contain ourselves any longer we burst out into loud peals of laughter. Dad looks over at us, absent-mindedly chewing on the not-so-holy father “What?” We shake our heads, laughing.
Later we go to the Christmas Eve service. Never mind that we can't be serious long enough to even reach our seats. Everything is amusing and we giggle throughout. Mom is in the front, pulling out her recorder, getting ready to play. Ellie leans over to Jed and whispers “look, my Mom!” Jed sits up, “Ooh!” He says, “Which one?!”
The kids in front of us are trying to sneakily flip each other off. I find this extremely amusing. The boy crosses his fingers, hold them up and mouths “my middle finger...” at his little sister. She raises her fist, slowly lifting her fingers and allowing her middle finger finger to rise slightly higher than the others. Ah, Merry Christmas, everybody.
Then the preaching starts. Best quote of the evening is “We are not all called to be heroes, but we are all called to listen to the snapping of the towel.”
This was part of a story about a man in POW camp whose friends used a towel to snap out in code the letters GBUJS. Apparently this meant “God Bless You James Stockfield”. We spent most of the rest of the service coming up with what else it could have stood for – Get Busy You Junior Stuntman, Good Babies Usually Jog Silently, Grumpy Boys Under Judgment Surveillance, etc.
We get home around midnight and we each open one present. We pull out the cheeseball and crackers, get cups of coffee with Bailey's Irish Cream, or hot chocolate with Buttershots and settle in to watch Stomp the Yard – the perfect Christmas movie. We marvel at Chris Brown's dancing abilities. Somewhere in the midst of that we decide to form our own frat with our own chant – we'll be the 'taters. “taters, taters, we reppin' taters...”. After some Chris Brown on MTV videos, it's time for bed.
Christmas Day. Presents, waffles for breakfast. Then we half-heartedly watch The Return of the Jedi. It's just a matter of course that there will be people at my house at different levels of insanity and mental instability. This Christmas is extra special. B is here. Mumbling constantly, weighing everything he eats. And now, here's H. Ever so wonderful. As she climbs in the car she says “I'm looking forward to a nice, peaceful vacation with the Baby Jesus, at your house today.” Ah yes. She is wearing a red sweatshirt with a faceless baby on it. It says Happy Birthday Baby Jesus. Her silver hair is pulled back and a bun of auburn and golden hair is perched on the back of her head. She moves slowly, hunched over, a little unstable. She says “you'll have to tell me who you are.”
“I'm Katie.” I respond.
“I'm Sara.” Sara says.
“Oh, I didn't recognize you with your hair short.” She says.
We arrive at the house and B and M come down for lunch. H, who's never met B, moves toward him and gives him a hug. They are hugging awkwardly when Mom says “Oh, H – this is B. B, H.” They move apart and shake hands. “Well, I knew that just couldn't be Jed...” H mumbles as she moves to her seat. "