Christmas, as it turned out, was lovely. Everyone arrived mid-day and we did the usual coffee and sweet rolls while we opened gifts and emptied stockings. The last gift was to my husband and me from my older son and his girlfriend. It was this shadow box they'd made for us. In the wedding, instead of tossing my bouquet afterwards, I had my son's girlfriend walk up during the ceremony and I gave it to her to keep. She had taken some of the roses and ribbon from it and framed it with our wedding invitation. And my son, who had found a pewter salt shaker tucked way in the back of a junk drawer while he was looking for a knife, had the foresight to think we might want a souvenir from the old church building. A nice bit of synchronicity, actually, because several years ago on our final summer visit to the same apartment we always stayed in on St. Simon's island, I found a ceramic monkey salt shaker in the back of a drawer and, since it also had no match, brought it home to serve as the guard monkey my younger son had suggested we get to protect our house. At any rate, my husband and I were deeply touched by the gift and it sits in our room near our wedding photo now.
And then dinner - I roasted a couple of chickens (yes, I know, but I have sons who haven't yet outgrown the ability to eat an insane amount of food with no change to their lean bodies), and we made potatoes and carrots, green beans, and beets with sweet onions. And there was pie. Bourbon-chocolate pecan and pumpkin and the surprise addition made by my younger son's girlfriend of a dark chocolate/coffee/red wine pie. Sounds odd, but it was rich and delicious. The best part of Christmas, though, was just having everyone there. We sat for a long time after dinner, talking and laughing, and I felt like my heart was absolutely filled.