Wow, another Christmas has come and gone. It's so very hard to believe. As usual, it was magnificent and I treasure spending that time with my family each year. It was rather bittersweet this time around though because Michael and Wynn stayed in LA and had Wynn's parents fly out to celebrate there. Christmas is the one time each year where we all fly in to be together so it felt very strange not to have them with us. I actually should be kinda pissed off at them because that just meant I ate their share of sausage balls and mini quiches Christmas morning. Thanks a lot, guys.
In all seriousness, we really had a wonderful day together. There were two huge surprises we encountered as well that made this Christmas one of the most memorable celebrations I've had. As a little back story, my family is extremely small. Both sets of grandparents passed away by the time I was 19 and I actually never knew one grandfather or grandmother. My mom's two brothers also passed away and my dad's two sisters I rarely get to see. We have family in St. Louis, some in Georgia, and the rest in New York so you can imagine my surprise when I got a Facebook friend request a couple of months ago from my first cousin, Paul. He's the son of my mom's younger brother who sadly passed away in 1997 and I hadn't been in contact with him for over half my life. It was a crazy feeling seeing that friend request but I accepted and boy, am I glad I did. We've communicated a lot recently and it turns out he's a farmer overseeing a multimillion dollar farm in south Georgia. He's had an incredibly hard life but he's turned so much around to become a hard working, successful man. He lives with his girlfriend, Sherri, who he raves about and they have such a sweet life together. He's told me all about farming peanuts, cotton, and watermelon and how the work is hard but fulfilling. He's such a neat guy and I was so excited when he asked if he and Sherri could stop by on Christmas day since they were driving up to visit her father. Nobody really knew what to expect when he arrived but it turned out to be such a fantastic visit. We all talked about his father and shared tough but necessary stories about some demons he faced. It was especially emotional for mom to see him again since he has essentially had no family for most of his life. It was a touching and deeply meaningful visit for all of us. They stayed and had Christmas dinner with us, too. It's amazing to me what restoration can happen when people open their hearts and lives to believe in and embrace one another. It was wonderful.
What else was wonderful was that we had a white Christmas!!! The news said something about it being 1882 or something nuts like that (sorry, didn't actually look it up) since the last white Christmas and I found that so amazing. It snowed all day, from 9:00am'ish until about 11:00pm. It was so pretty and I have no idea why I didn't think to take a bunch of photos. I snapped this with my phone around 9:00pm: