This year, we decided to do without a tree. We're trying to save money, and we'd be spending Christmas morning at my sister's and then driving to New Jersey for ten days. No point.
On Tuesday night, our friends Kerry and Christian showed up on our doorstep and surprised us with a small Christmas tree...plus gifts for Will and the two of us to go beneath it. "It's not right to celebrate Will's first Christmas without a tree," they argued.
Our week continued with three joyful Christmas Eve parties, a great morning with my parents, Rachel, Ben, Belle and Joseph, and the easiest ever trip down to NJ: 4 hours, 40 minutes, including two stops!
Tonight we went to Dave's cousin Pat's house (he and his lovely wife Vicki host an annual holiday party for the Noon clan) and watched as the baby was happily passed from a cousin to a sibling to an uncle to an aunt and over to a cousin's kid--we didn't know quite what to do with our free hands!--and then Uncle Bill said he had something for William.
"I know you named Will after my dad, your grandfather," he said to Dave. "So I want him to have this watch." Dave's grandfather, the William Noon after whom both Uncle Bill and our little Will are named, had received a watch for forty years of service at his job, with his name engraved on the back. When he passed away, Dave's grandmother gave the watch to Uncle Bill; now Uncle Bill wanted to give it to the newest William Noon. It was a sweet and meaningful gift and we were very moved. We were also interested to hear that the watch had stopped at 7:07...the time of death on Pop-Pop Noon's death certificate.
We went about our business at the party, but soon enough an even eerier thing happened: the watch started again, out of the blue, as Grandpop had it in his hand! Cindy said "Everybody wave...Pop-Pop's here to say hi to little William!" and we all waved to the great-grandfather who had created this huge and happy family.
And I thought, How lucky! We have each other, and friends who come bearing Christmas trees, and families to love us and to help us navigate new-parenthood, and sisters-in-law to work out and gossip and laugh with, and brothers-in-law who want to play with their baby nephew and will even let you fix their hair (more on this later), and a son who only cries when he needs another eight gazillion ounces of food down his gullet. I thought about how even though this is our first Christmas without my beloved Grandpa Joe, he was still there for nearly 28 years of my life. So lucky.
I know this is a rambling post, and I have a million more stories from this past week and pictures to accompany them (not to mention all the work I still have to put into the Noon Guide site). Until I'm finished immersing myself in family and friends, however, those posts will just have to wait. Happy holidays!