Christmas of 2011 - Every Christmas, me and my cousin Gracie put on a Christmas play. Now you have to know Gracie to put this into context. She is barely 5 foot and has got a grin and a heart as big as Mt. Everest. You think I'm crazy, Gracie is just as much, if not more. But behind that bouncy, impulsive personality is an incredibly dedicated and disciplined gymnast. The work she puts into that sport is incredible. She is there almost every day after school for at least 3 hours running though routines, sweating through conditioning and focusing on getting better. And gymnastics isn't a sport you just pick up. You have to sacrifice a LOT of time. You have to be really strong and extraordinarily flexible. Did I mention dedicated already!?!?!?
Yet she is so much fun. We are total goofs together and still have heart to heart talks. We always plan The Play over email a couple weeks before Christmas, but on December 25th, we tend to adlib our way through it. The results are hilarious. Like last year, we had done the first part where we helped some orphans or something and then the next part was when she was supposed to be an old woman and my other cousins were supposed to laugh and tease her. Well, Gracie hobbles in (a.k.a through the master bedroom door) and onto the stage (a.k.a the living room. Are you sensing authenticity yet:) ?) She sits down, mumbling the entire time, clutching a stick. It falls to the ground and she leans down to pick up, groaning, "I dropped my crane!"
The audience crammed on the couch starts chuckling. "Cut," she hollers. "That didn't happen. I meant cane, cane." My family members are laughing and I try to stifle my own outburst as I wait to send my cousins/bullies in for their scene.
She begins again, warbling just like the stereotype old lady. "When I was a lad - "
"Lass!" my uncle yells. (Heis known for his serious sense of humor!)
"Whatever!" Gracie tries to retort through her own laughter. "Lass." She regains her composure. "I used to throw . . . snowballs."
Then she starts rolling on the ground laughing. This would be an instance of adlibbing gone wrong. Both of us could not stop giggling. When we finally caught our breath, one of my cousins who was supposed to be a bully comes up to me and asks, "So when do we get to laugh at Gracie?"
We dissolved into giggles once more.
"A joyful spirit is good medicine."
This weekend, my Mimi and Papa were here to celebrate Christmas with us. They aren't big fans of being snowed in on Christmas. (Remember the ice storm?!) So we have our tree set up with lights and ornaments, but only after Dad went to the store and got more lights:) We have this tendancy to blow out lights at Christmas. This year's tree is proabably the largest we have had. Thankfully it isn't as full as last years, but it is SO tall. It scrapes our ceiling and our ceiling is up there! I think the tree is almost 10 feet tall. Normally we wait until the second week of December to put it up, but because my Mimi wanted to do some activities with the tree, we put it up early. This year, she gave us a trainset to put around the tree. You know the kind that goes on its own? That was really fun and we all enjoy making it blow smoke and whistle and see how fast we can make it go before Mom comes in and tells us to slow it down!
Do you have any tree traditions? All the kids get to put ornaments on the tree and it is teamwork from all of that get the tree in the house and in the stand. It makes for fun memories, especially as the tree gets bigger! We all thought it would be easier to lift the tree and rotate it, etc., as we got older, but it seems we can never get ahead of the tree!