Alyssa is home! And she brought her roommate with her. What a treat it has been to have both girls home for the holidays. Haley works at The Patriot Center and she was unable to go home until after her pay period ended, so she joined our family for a few days while she traveled back and forth from the campus of GMU to our house. It was so much fun seeing these girls together - they truly are like sisters. They spent the first few days of their winter break playing with my scrapbook supplies, watching movies, and sleeping... these girls know how to sleep!
And so with Alyssa home, our house has become a whirlwind of activity before the holiday. We've had Haley coming and going, Alyssa working the overnight shifts at Hollister, John trying to keep up with his tutors, nurses and social life, and me trying to finish up last minute Christmas preparations. At one point, we had Haley packing to go home while another friend moved into the guest room just three hours later - barely time to change the sheets and wash the towels! That same night, we had one of John's friends crashed out on our downstairs sofa while John and his girlfriend watched a movie in the upstairs family room... five teenagers all at once! The front door just kept revolving, leaving my head spinning and my pantry emptying faster than I could keep up. Note that this activity occurred at 2:30 in the morning and I was left to wonder exactly what sort of hours these college girls keep while living on campus with no rules at all.
It's been fun, but I just can't keep up with the teenagers.
Through it all, I managed to finish the final holiday sewing project:
This is a child's size 8 apron that I made as an anonymous donation to a family our neighborhood sponsored this Christmas (Simplicity Pattern # 4286). I had so much fun sewing something for a little girl - it brought back many memories of years gone by when I used to make Alyssa's Christmas dresses each year. I had forgotten how cute those little girl projects can be (and now I want grand babies, but I'm going to keep that wish to myself for a few more years!).
Speaking of neighbors: one of my neighbors had the wonderful idea that we all work together this holiday season and sponsor a family from a local church. She organized the project like a pro and we began gathering gifts in early November. Yesterday she hosted a wrapping party -
Participating in this project has been my greatest reward of the season. I was overwhelmed seeing the generosity of my friends and neighbors, and I was honored to have been asked to make the apron for a deserving little girl. In addition to the apron, Alyssa and I shopped for the mother. We had fun selecting items that we thought would make her life easier (jumbo sized bath towels), and more relaxing (a new coffee maker). As I spent the afternoon with my neighbors, I was reminded that when everyone gives a little, the result turns out to be a lot. It is my sincere desire that we make this an annual holiday tradition because this is really what Christmas is all about.
While at the wrapping party, Alyssa was able to spend time with our very favorite six year old friend. I almost stared to cry as we walked in the door and Little Miss B ran across the room and threw herself into Alyssa's arms. She held on very tightly and didn't want to stop hugging Alyssa - the look on her face was pure love and adoration. Afterwords, Alyssa told me that seeing Miss B was what she had been looking forward to more than anything else this holiday season.
When I take a minute to stop and soak it all in, I realize that this is what Christmas feels like: family, friends, love, laughter, and joy - and I am thankful to be blessed with these gifts - because I know that each moment is a memory and each memory is a treasure.