Last night (Friday evening), I was at a sister’s house for our usual every-Friday-night family dinner. My large family makes it a priority to get together for dinner once a week, as best we can, forgiving absences for being away travel, distance, illness, or other allowable reasons.
My Spouse rarely goes to these dinners with me because…
…it is too darn loud and kinda crazy.
For me — I expect that. A large family is loud and boisterous! I love it that way. Especially the kiddos whose excitement before Christmas is palpable.
Last night, Spouse stayed home while I joined about 50 of my family. We were milling about, munching on appetizers, sharing stories, and socializing when we heard faint singing. Somewhere. Singing.
The singing of a beloved Christmas carol, Tu scendi dalle stelle, in Italian.
Where was this music coming from? Then my sister opened her front door and we saw a group on the lawn caroling to us.
Who was in this group? Who knew the words to this song that I have loved since I was a kid?
There was a niece… another niece… a few nephews. I looked around… I thought they were just here. They must have slipped out.
More “greats” joined the group. The singing grew louder. I began to sing along. Grabbed my coat (it was darn cold!) and began to walk out the door when I saw someone who I did not expect to see… my beloved husband. How’d he get here? (He doesn’t drive).
He doesn’t sing either, especially in Italian. When I walked up to him, I saw that he was just smiling and swaying slowly with the music.
Then before I could ask Spouse why he was here and how he got here, I felt someone come up behind me and give me a huge bear hug. I jumped (startled)… who was doing this to me? It felt like my twin brother. (He hugs me a certain way that I know who it is.)
Can’t be… I just spoke with him on the phone at his house in Rome, Italy. He told me that he and his wife were going to spend Christmas with his wife’s family in Venice.
But there he was… and his wife next to him. Hugging me.
I cried out, “what are you doing here? I thought you were going to (wife’s name) family for Christmas!”
All he said was, “you always say, show those you love how you love them. Surprise!”
Man, was I surprised!
Later, he said that while I am not having a retirement party at work, he was going to have one for me. I attended his elaborate ceremony when he retired from his long career, and he wanted to return the favor to me.
Sheesh… what a great gift for Christmas.
Life is short: show those you love how you love them.