Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009 and Happy New Year!

Before 2009 ends, I am tallying up a few experiences of the last few days that I am thankful for:

#1 Having children and grandchildren spend time in our home. An especially wonderful surprise was the same feeling of togetherness that I experienced as a child. It was delivered by my husband, sons and daughters-in-law the morning after our Dec. 26 family Christmas gathering.

Five grandchildren ranging in age from toddlers to a seven year old woke up hungry and ready for breakfast. Baboo, also known as husband Walter, whipped up pancakes, eggs and sausage. The little ones chowed down and moved on to entertain themselves. Then parents and grandparents enjoyed a leisurely breakfast. We stayed at the table long after appetites were satisfied. The conversation, joking and stories flew.

Afterwards I realized that the warm happiness I felt was the same feeling I had when I was the little one. My parents and their siblings and spouses sat around the table swapping stories and jokes while my cousins and I played. That southern storyteller trait has not been entirely eradicated by television and electronic communications. The parents of my grandchildren can still weave magic for me.

# 2 Colored Christmas tree lights. I know some folks consider them less sophisticated than white twinkle lights, even downright tacky. But they are pieces of colored happiness to me. My love affair with colored Christmas tree lights began as a child. It was only as an adult that I started remembering what things looked like to me before grade five. At that time an eye test revealed my extreme nearsightedness. Christmas lights pre-eyeglasses were soft, glowing, overlapping globes of color. When I was 13, a little brother entered my life by adoption. He shared my love of the lights and learned his colors from the Christmas tree lights.

Second son Jeremy was a little over two months old his first Christmas. The lights elicited wide-eyed wonder and endearing baby sounds from him. This Christmas it was a joy to have two little girl grandbabies who are enthusiastic about the colors of lights on the tree. I loved the moments with Molly Kate touching lights and telling me all the colors. Stella, a few months younger, touched and identified “geen” and “boo.” She expected me to take care of articulating the names of yellow and red lights.

#3 An unexpected visit with friends and family. Walter and I were able to join my mother, brother Mike Carpenter, wife Sonya and offspring Amanda, 18, Becky, 17, and Matthew, 15, for an all-too-brief visit at the home of Elton and Joyce Raby, family friends in Hattiesburg. The Rabys’ daughter Susie also joined the group. Time flew in laughter, music by Amanda accompanied by Mike at the piano, and catching up.

As our time together came to an end, Mr. Raby presented Mother with a certificate from the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. The certificate recognized him as one of the museum’s founding donors and acknowledged his donation in memory of his friend and my father, Cecil Carpenter, World War II veteran. The Carpenters and Skupiens ended the evening with pizza at a local eatery then we headed for the Coast.

#4 Time with my husband. I treasure Christmas moments with Walter. I get a kick out of him in his Baboo role, sending grandkids into shrieks of laughter and mock terror, feeding them and cuddling them. But I also savor his sending me into shrieks of laughter and mock terror, feeding me and cuddling me.

Okay, it is 11 p.m. I guess it is time to think about those pesky resolutions. Hmmmmm. I think I will just have two: Live every moment in the moment. Give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).


  1. Hi, just hopping over to your blog after reading your comment on mine at Kathy. Thanks for the visit! I am glad to meet a fellow retiree and grandmother who blogs! I love colored Christmas lights also, even though I gave in and got white ones a couple of years ago. The white ones just have no "personality"! Blessings, Kathy

  2. No doubt I have inherited your "weepiness." I love you mom. Great post!