Monday, December 22, 2008

A Caroling We Will Go

Tonight we went caroling with my brother Kevin and his family and several other families from their church. I hadn't been caroling in years and I don't think the girls had ever been so we were excited. The plan was to visit 3 homes belonging to some of the elderly members of their congregation.

I bundled us all up thinking we'd be singing outside but we showed up at the first house and the husband and wife asked us in. You know the old joke about how many (fill in the blank) can you fit in a --- fill in the blank with a noun like car, or phone booth or on top of a toothpick. It was kind of like that. How many carolers can you fit into a small home?

Apparently quite a few. I think there was about 25 of us and we all fit in this living room. We finished singing and the woman offered us all a piece of fudge. Yum. We hopped back in our cars and off to the next house. On the way something happened to Emma.

She developed Wet Noodlitis.

Either that or she fell asleep. We showed up at the second house and were invited in again. We sang a range of Christmas songs and were offered:

Cookies! This caroling ain't half bad. I decided on the spot that if my children complain of being hungry between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve I'm sending them out on the streets to carol.

Back into the cars again and off to the third house. Emma began to wake up as we sang inside the house. (Who knew caroling was an indoor sport now?) The woman at the third house had invited her children and grandchildren to listen and several times she spoke and she seemed close to tears. When we finished singing she said she remembered them singing for her and her husband the year before and what a wonderful memory it was for her. It was obvious to me that her husband was no longer there.

When we finished singing her children and grandchildren offered us apple cider and sugar cookies.

These cookies just melted in your mouth. They were amazing. While we ate Emma and I sat on the stairs by the front door and the elderly woman came over to talk to us.

"I'm sorry for your loss." I told her.

She smiled softly and I added "I lost my husband almost 3 years ago." I said it as though it was the password to a secret society, a group united by tragedy and loss.

She patted my hand. "I know. I remember from your brother. But your loss is greater than mine. I had 59 1/2 years with my husband and you had so much less."

I wanted to say something but I stayed silent. Which was worse? Living with someone for most of your life and suddenly trying to figure out how to survive without them or living with someone for 10 years, planning a future together and having it all yanked away? And whose to say they are even comparable? Why does one have to be worse than the other?

Our attention turned to Emma, who was beginning to scream for a bottle and the woman moved on to thank others for coming. Soon we left and went back to Kevin and Janne's house for Hot Fudge pudding.

Is this stuff even legal??? When Janne' moved the dish to cut it it jiggled. Yum. It tasted as good as it looked.

Now, lest you think that I'm the only crazy one in my family let me show you this:

My brother Kevin holding Ryan, who was utterly fascinated with the hat on Kevin's head. It must run in the family. Sources have told me that Kevin has some wicked dance moves. Maybe there's a dance off in our future.


Kristy said...

Denise I don't know either if the loss is comparable or if one is worse than the other, I think it just all plain hurts but I do know this....that lady was put in your path for a reason and I think what she said to you was absolutely completely unselfish and beautiful at the same time. It was one of those moments that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Merry Christmas to one of the most unbelievable people I have ever had the opportunity to know even if it is over the internet.

Love you, Kristy

annie kelleher said...

what a lovely story and thank you for sharing it... and i love the idea of sending the kids out to carol for snacks!! hope you and yours have a wonderfully merry and happy holiday and a blissful blessed new year!

Kat said...

I agree with Kristy, I'm not sure which loss is worse than the other or if they are, in many ways, the same. But I do think that this is something that both you and the kids will remember for a very long time.

But as the beautiful story goes - some people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Oh and for the record, I don't think any of you are "strange" - I think you all are beautiful in your own way. You are not afraid to show the world that you know how to have fun and to live. And this is what you are teaching your children, which is the best thing you could teach them.

We need more of you in the world.

Lula! said...

OK, I cried over what that sweet, precious woman said to you about your loss being greater than hers.


Great post, Denise. Loved it.

Anita said...

Denise, what a wonderful post. I love just seems so odd in FL, I grew up in teh mid-west and we had snow and cold temps...
I too don't know that you need to compare or contrast one another's loss, both you and the elderly woman lost a loved one, a partner, and it's tragic and sad. Somehow we accept the passing of an older person, as life has a beginning and an end.
Merry Christmas! I really enjoy your blog.

The Johnson 5 said...

I too am in tears, seems to be a trend lately...
Loss is a horrible thing no matter which way it comes.

I think the caroling for sweets is a good idea!


The Johnson 5 said...

Also, Emma is too cute!!

I love her lips!! YUMMY!!

Gatlin said...

This is precious!

So, what's the recipe for the hot fudge pudding? (:

Lindsey's mom said...

It looks like you had fun. My view having lost a child is that each loss is personal to you. I have had people compare mine with those that have lost an infant. I had Chelsea 8 years...some have said mine was greater. There is no great loss than the loss of a loved one is what I say..a child was your child no matter if they were 1 minute old or 45. Same with husbands in my humble opinion...told my husband we need to make a trip south!!! He has family in you neck of the woods!!``

Kristin said...

That Emma is just the most precious little girl that I've ever seen!!
Merry Christmas!

Brandy said...

As if I needed more tears today...neither is worse than the other. Anytime a loved one is gone, it's going to be sad regardless of how long you had with them. It never seems to be enough.

If I start chanting "dance off" will you make that happen?

Carey-Life in the Carpool Lane said...

Beautiful post. It sounds like you a had a fun night.
Is Emma heavier when she is afflicted with Wet Noodlitis? For some reason that must be a side effect because my boys end up being at least twice as heavy as usual.

Preston said...

I haven't been caroling since I was a kid. I didn't know people still did things like that. That is totally awesome.

I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Beverly said...

love the "wet noodle" pic. she is too cute. I can't imagine either loss though both would be hard!! Merry Christmas and God's peace to you and your family!

katrina said...

What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. I guess we all have to be thankful for the time we have and the loved ones in our life. Have a wonderful Christmas with your beautiful family.

Kristin said...

Your loss is no less than the older woman's. A loss is a loss. She may have lost (or thinks she has) years of memories; but you lost years of future memories. How can one be more important than than the other?

I am glad you had fun caroling even with Emma being a noodle. :-)

debi said...

Merry Christmas my new dear sweet friend! It has been blessing to get to know you and your family and for you joining me on my blog! Hope to get to know you even better as next year rolls around...until then, take care & keep in touch! xo...deb

Breanna and Dave said...

That looks so much fun!! Your little one passed out is so adorable!

Anonymous said...

Happy Holidays!

You are the person below me on SITS roll call so I'm stopping by to check out your blog. Just read your entire Vietnam Adoption story. WOW. You are a strong amazing woman.

Jill said...

What fun to go caroling! I have not done so in years!
I love it that Emma just decided to NAP along the way!!! SWEET girl!