Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Grandma for Christmas

Christmas 2013 was full of miracles.  A whole series of miracles happened to end up with Grandma Jill in Arizona with us for the holiday.
On Christmas Eve morning, I talked to Cheyenne on the phone.  She said Mama Jill was having a really hard time missing everyone, not getting along with her parents, and expecting to spend Christmas alone.  We couldn't let that happen.  Cheyenne had looked at plane tickets to Georgia, but the prices made it unrealistic to consider.  I realized that I was the closest, which meant the plane tickets would be cheapest, but I still expected that buying a same-day plane ticket on Christmas Eve would be absurdly expensive.  After checking with my mother in law to make sure it was fine to add another guest to the crowded house, I ran home from the park to check on tickets.  Annette mentioned checking Allegiant Air, since they tend to have great prices, even though they only fly on certain days.
Sure enough, Allegiant was flying from Provo to Mesa in three hours, and they were extremely affordable.  The next challenge was getting my mom on the phone to make sure she could get to the airport on time.  I was in touch with all of my sisters, but no one could reach her.  We all spent the next hour praying and calling.  She finally answered to tell me that she was in Ogden, an hour and a half from the airport.  She immediately got back in her car and started driving to the airport.  I bought the ticket, but we were convinced that Christmas Eve traffic through Salt Lake City would make it impossible for her to catch her flight.  My sisters and I kept praying, and miracles happened.  If she had answered her phone five minutes later, she might not have had time to get to the airport, but she made it.  She texted me at the gate as she was boarding, and I got in the car to go pick her up.
The Phoenix airport is very well marked and close to the freeway, but she was flying to the Mesa airport (where I had never been before), so I turned on navigation and started driving.  About two thirds of the way there I realized that the battery on my phone was not going to last all of the way with navigation on, so I turned it off.  As soon as I got off the freeway in Chandler, the thought came to me that I should pull over and write down the rest of the directions, so I pulled into an empty parking lot and copied the rest of the directions down on the back of a receipt.  ONE MINUTE LATER my phone battery died.  If that was not a miracle, I don't know what is.
I picked up my mom, who said that she fell asleep on the plane, and woke up unable to remember how she got there, since it had all happened so fast.  I drove back as quickly as I dared, and we managed to make it back in time for the children's Christmas pageant.
 Ryan and B were sheep.  Uncle Jake was the donkey.  There may or may not have been two Marys (Annie or McKenzie?).  Rachel was an angel, of course.  Eloise was a shepherd, and Peyton was a wise man.
 It was very cute.
 On Christmas morning, the excitement was tangible.
 Even B, who was mostly interested in playing with wrapping paper, pulled things out of his stocking with enthusiasm, until he found a banana, whereupon he stopped to chew on the skin until I opened it for him.
 Jared was delighted to deliver presents until the pile was depleted.
 While Jared flew around the room in excitement, and B got into everything he could lay his hands on, Eloise picked a little piece of floor for present opening, and did not move from it.  She spent most of the time sitting here eating.  Here she is at the beginning of the morning. . .
 . . . in the middle. . .
 . . . and ending up in a pile of presents.
 Notice B with his unpeeled banana.


 Eloise got a CD with her favorite song on it: "I Found You" by Caspar Babypants (her favorite song is "All the Fish"), who we heard in concert last summer.
 Jared was incredibly excited to get a calendar of his very own for Christmas.
Here is our family Christmas morning portrait.
 Here we are with the beloved GPs.
 And, thanks to some Christmas Eve magic, Grandma Jill was with us, too!
A very belated Merry Christmas to all of you, and may all of your days be filled with the wonder of children's joy, as this day has been for us.

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