Rather than traveling on Christmas day we opted to stay home until the day after. Santa delivered a few toys and clothes for the girls. They opened their gifts. I'd like to say they were excited about the things they got, but they are 15 months old. Everything is neat and new for a little bit. Including the boxes. However, they did enjoy the little doggie and the weeble wobble people like thing (don't you love my descriptors). Kate is so smart. She loves to try and figure out how things work. So, true to form, she quickly discovered that if you push the star the weeble toy lit up and played music. So, from the time they opened them until we left for brunch, that is what we heard over and over. I wrote a letter to Charlie and placed it in his stocking where it will remain. I've decided that I will do this for him every year.
Brunch was at Noah and Suzanne's. Their home was filled with love and laughter. It was so nice to be around the "adopted" family. People who don't have to, but love you and your children anyway. They were happy to see us and the girls.
Ultimately, we came home and got ready for our trip to St. Louis. The 500+ mile drive from Ohio to St. Louis. I'd be lying if I said I was so excited about the drive part. However, this time I drove 80 pretty much the entire way. No construction, no rain, and no snow. Fantastic! The girls were troopers.
Our first stop was to see Charlie. I didn't get home to see him last Christmas. I didn't see his little evergreen blanket or his little Christmas tree. This year, I did. His grave was so decorated and colorful. I'm so grateful my mom and mother-in-law take things to him. The sock monkey and stocking were hanging over him. Watching over him.
The remainder of the trip was family gatherings. Toy gluttony for the girls. Trips back and forth to see Charlie and visits with friends.
It was a nice week. Too short as always. There is never enough time to see everyone. Someone always gets their feelings hurt. In the end, I leave there sad and home sick. Wishing.
Always leaving, never staying.