Today was the Stone Family Christmas Party after church. And for all you grammar gurus, I do realize that it should not be all capitalized, but in my mind, it qualifies just because of the magnitude. Lots of people, lots of food, lots of laughs, lots of kids, lots of love. I will admit that this has not always been my favorite holiday party. I grew up with a very small family, and Daryl's family is soooo not small. I am extremely introverted with people I don't know...painfully shy even, so parties, in general, are not things I look forward to. Then there is the fact that all of Daryl's sisters and neices are model gorgeous and maybe weigh 100 pounds soaking wet. Nicest, most genuine people you would ever want to meet, and they never made me feel anything other than totally welcome, but I found them all a little intimidating and myself paling in comparison. And finally, the fact that they are all so spiritually grounded, and here I was so new in my faith. So in my mind, the Stone Family Christmas Party felt like the equivalent of being thrown to the lions. Nerves galore a week before, agonizing over gifts to give and what to wear, praying that I would not appear to be as uncomfortable as I felt, that I would make Daryl proud, and not embarrass him. Over the years, though, I've grown to love this party, mostly because I have grown to love this family. The feelings of inadequacy remain, as I fear they always will, just because of who and how I am, but I am now able to look past that and enjoy the loud, boisterous beauty of Daryl's family.
And as tradition dictates, I once again forgot to take the camera. If I had remembered to bring it, you would be looking at pictures of these sweet moments from today:
*Hannah performing, with angel wings, in the children's Christmas program this morning. Daryl and I didn't even know that Hannah was going to be in it until this morning, and even then, we weren't sure she would actually go through with it. But rest assured, she was precious. She did come on stage with her dress hiked up, pulling up her panties and tights that had slid down her backside (note to self...size 4T-5T tights...too small), and she stood in the wrong spot (with the speakers instead of the nativity scene), but she was just precious.
*Maddy singing in church today. Once again...I didn't even know she was singing until we were up on the stage and the service had started!
*Hannah and cousin Benji chasing each other up and down the hallway. They were both so red faced, and Hannah was "fweaty, Mommy, I am so fweaty. Dis is a big pwobwem."
*Charlotte being passed around and not fussing a bit.
*Daryl giving the devotion. He did such a good job--I love to hear him teach. I swear I fall in love with him all over again every time. I love it that he is the spiritual leader of our family and that I can still learn from him and that he still gives me butterflies after eight years.
So another Stone party is in the books, and next year there will be more spouses and more children (but NOT from us on either count!), and most likely, I will forget my camera.