About Me

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Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Home for Xmas...Even in a Hotel

I love the concept of Christmas! Without examining religious implications, I start singing Christmas music along with the radio the day after Thanksgiving. I love the energy of the season, and appreciate others' efforts to make things beautiful and meaningful.

I love the crass commercialism, too, if it means I can find perfect gifts for loved ones (besides, it helps the economy, right?). I love having a daughter-in-law text to say she can't wait to see her twin eighteen-month nephews open their inflatable, punchable football players. I love having a son call to ask advice on earrings for his wife. Everyone's trying to make someone else happy.

Since our Massachusetts home could accommodate everyone (immediate family now eleven), as well as an in-law or two, I used to leave Florida three weeks early to begin decorating, baking, and shopping. Charley begged to stay in the warm weather till two weeks later, when I needed him as a "gofer." He'd cut the holly and evergreen boughs, string outdoor lights, help me put up the tree, and "go for" anything I needed. As the former owner of an interior design company, I wouldn't miss the house tours in Providence or store windows in Boston.

Christmas Eve we'd all visit friends in R.I., where our sons grew up, and then my husband's family (an Irish clan). Christmas Day, my daughter-in-law's mother brought her recipes, which we prepared together. The holiday was exhausting but provided memories of a two-year-old granddaughter returning again and again to gaze up at the illuminated angel swinging slowly back and forth at the top of the tree; or our satiated son with his hand on his pregnant wife's belly as we all watched "The Christmas Story" together.

Several years ago, after carolling in a horse-drawn sleigh with 20-degree temperatures and a 15 mph wind, Charley declared he didn't want to return to open our home in Massachusetts for the holiday. So the family came to Florida twice; then we alternated between our sons' homes for two years. Due to time constraints for work, as well as travel with twin eighteen-month-olds and three granddaughters under seven, we decided to meet this year at a hotel between our two sons' families.

I hit the internet in August. We had a lot of requirements: a suite big enough for a small tree and gift-opening on Xmas morning; a pool for the kids to swim; rooms with sofa beds for the granddaughters (plus two cribs); decent restaurant(s) in-house or close by.

I traded in a lot of "Frequent Flier" and "Frequent Guest" points and we ended up in...

White Plains, New York!

I wasn't expecting much...

But it was PERFECT!

Eighteen-month Jeffrey laughed hysterically as he splashed me in the pool. Our youngest granddaughter, Ashley, had her first sleepover, nestled against cousin Devon. Arden and Ashley, hand-in-hand next to us, wore antler headpieces across Main Street and stopped pedestrians. The boys dressed in buttondowns with red sweater vests and the girls in embroidered or plaid dresses with ribbons in their hair for dinner and photos. Both twins ran away from Santa in different directions after grabbing small gifts from him. The hotel provided gingerbread cookies to decorate with icings and sprinkles, as well as aprons. Uncles, aunts, granny, and grandpa read The Grinch Stole Christmas for the 100th time and cuddled to watch "Barbie the Snow Princess." We stole a million kisses and hugs, and gave way too many horsey and piggy-back rides for our backs!

On Dec. 24th, granddaughter Arden said to me, "This is the bestest day ever! We get to stay in a fancy hotel, swim all morning, go to Build-A-Bear in the afternoon, and Santa comes tonight!

Wherever we all are, we are home for Christmas.

And to all, a good night... and a very healthy, happy 2012!

(Follow my next two blogs about overnight train travel.)