Trying to expose our children to new, exotic experiences, we drug the family up to Illinois for an extended family Christmas and the children's first sighting of some strange white powder that the natives call "snow".
Our little Florida Corolla Before the Christmas Eve Blizzard:
The Rationalist desperately worked to make a snowman, but the snow wasn't quite wet enough and Frosty was only about 12 inches high
A good first attempt.
We had great fun and the boys spent hours freezing their fingers off playing in the snow. However, The Intuitive suddenly changed his tune about wanting to move to Canada when he's older. After a week of temperatures in the teens and twenties, he's decided that he might stick around Florida after all.
Besides the first sighting of snow, the boys were able to meet many of their cousins and great-aunts and uncles for the very first time and take part in the giant family gathering that happens every year at Christmas. They pack about 75 people into my aunt's house and fill it with food and general revelry...and serious board and card game competitions.
I spent almost every Christmas in the same way when I was growing up.
Later in the week we traveled up to Chicago and took the boys to the Field Museum of Natural History, where they house Sue, the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever excavated.
They weren't as impressed with the Egyptian mummies as I thought they would be. Those always fascinated me when I was their age. They enjoyed the meteorite exhibit and the gold and gem exhibits, but the 3D movie about Sue was probably their favorite part.
After the museum closed, we met my youngest brother near his tiny apartment in Chinatown and took him out for dinner. He's 22 now and noticeably more mature than the last time we saw him a few years ago. He's got a good job, some career goals and surprised us with gift cards for Christmas.
Even former selfish, surly teenagers grow up to be decent people!!
I told him that I was proud of him, and I think it meant a lot to him.
We had a really good visit with my mother, and as we left The Rationalist said that he felt sad that we were leaving Grandma Jan's.
Other than the colds that we were all fighting during our visit, there were nothing but positive experiences. No family drama. No grumpy children. No car problems.
A Norman Rockwell tableau if ever there was one.
It's funny how you never know when those will occur. You can never summon them at will. They just magically emerge for a few moments to be enjoyed and make fond memories to return to again and again.