A Caribbean Christmas

There was a slight nagging sensation on the days preceding Christmas Eve, but I couldnt quite figure out what was going on...I just assumed that I was still trying to settle in and get organized before Christmas, but by the morning of December 24th I has gone into a full fledged panic...for the past eight years every Christmas had been spent in Port Saint Lucie, Florida at my mother and stepfather's house. My motherhas painstakingly decorated the Christmas tree and gone to the trouble of buying candy canes and pies and hot chocolate to make the season resemble the Christmas of TV Land lore (i.e. warm as if we were in someplace where snow was possible.). This Christmas would obviousl be different, but how different. The panic set in, which isn't unusual since I am usually panicked about one thing or another, usually its about the presents and whether the children would feel the Christmas spirit being so far from home!
I decided to calm down and let it unravel on its own...Luckily my sister-in-law, Katharine, had the brilliant idea to invite the kids over to her house to create decorate her Chrismas tree...instead of a traditional Christmas tree, we continued her and her roomate Angie's "tradition" and spray painted a series of tree branches metallic silver...added lights and decorations....voila! a Christmas tree...the giirls were mighty proud...Lion had been shipped off with his father so that I was able to fully concentrate on tghe matter at hand without interruption and worry of him impaling, blugeoning, or nearly killing himself or someone else (we mothers alwaya have to cover all the bases) I hear tell that he ended up at a beach side cafe with his father and thereby his cousin Alex, who fell in love with him immediately!
Katharine and I eventually escaped to her room to wrap presents while Angie engaged the girls in preparing pick-up saltfish for the next day's brunch. We eventually made it home for a dinner of curry chicken and jasmine rice prepared by Simon (so you know that it was GREAT) and once the youngsters were in bed Zenze and I skyped the Fullers and wrapped presents while we filled them in on our vacation thus far, prior to this Zen had confided that this didnt really feel like Christmas...but after we wrapped her aunt and uncles gifts...she went to bed peacefully.
The next day the kids slept in for the first time ever on Christmas and I awoke to an eerie silence...in my mind I had imaged people partying in the street, music blaring, noise and laughter...a Caribbean Christmas as I had known it in my youth, alas I remembered that Bajans tend to be a bit more reserved and thus my imagination had somehow conglomerated the carnival stylecelebrations of Trinidadians and Brazilians with a touch of V.I. ready-to- party-ness. The children eventually woke up, opened some presents, and prepared to go to breakfast at their aunt's house...
ALL IN ALL the day turned out to be so good! We had a great breakfast, we got to see Simon's friend Andrew Pilgrim ( BTW-I love his parents, especially his mother "Auntie Grace") and his wife, Bertha (who I had not met). Hang out with Matthew (always fun), give out presents, meet Angies family, her brother and his wife and children who were visiting from CA. Her parents who were very nice, spend time with Kathatrine (always a joy)...taste Adam's ham (yum yum)...all before driving over to Simon's cousin Peggy's house for lunch!
This morning Simon said it best when he said..."We ate some good food yesterday!", no lie, we did indeed, because tghe spread at Peggy's house was amazing and delicious...two of my favorite dishes...macaroni pie and West Indian potato salad...OMG...add to that flying fish, green slad and my new fave simply called "jug" and dont forget the sorrell...too good. But, beyond all of the eating (which you know is a big deal, obviously) was the opportunity to spend time with Simon's family and friends, his cousin Peggy, her husband Barton, and their children Ayja, Rhea and joshua were all very nice and welcoming. I got to see Alex and Claire (whose newborn son Noah was too sweet and reminded us how quickly the children grow up), their parents Oscar and Marsha and meet their brother Julian, his wife, Nicole, and sons Dominic and Marcus. I got to see Hope and Natalie, took photos of the children with Simon's uncle Lancie...the list could go on and on...We also participated in a family tradtion that I think will crystallize this Christmas in the girls mind forever, the singing of "DRINK A RUM" as modified by the family to highlight events of the past year, including our visit to Barbados...it was great! I think Lion will also remember this Christmas a s the day he was allowed to run wild with his cousins, slither through dirt, and terrorize the famiy's seven cats to the point of exhaustion (the cats' not his)...his clothes are the true testimony of the fun he had.
So while this Christmas had a different vibe...it turned out to be another version of Christmas that was equally as enjoyable for a variety of reasons, but mostly because my children learned that Christmas is more than getting presents and Santa Claus...it about time well spent hugging and kissing and being hugged and kissed by relatives who had longed to do so for years, for giving vs. getting presents and for enjoying the beauty of the world outside of 33069>34952>FL>USA! I think we are ready to take this Christmas show on the road...lets start planning for next year!

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