Let me start by saying that you can take the infertility out of the girl, but she'll forever remember being barren. Like a west Texas landscape. Junction, Texas, to be precise.
My mother's family has always blown up Christmas real good: lots of food, big family, a bounty of gifts and great conversation. After grandma died, however, things kind of evaporated. No one in the family ever made much of a fuss about family get-togethers -- there was always a general acceptance of those who came to visit for the holiday's and a lack of contempt for those who went elsewhere. That turned into a few years where we just never got together. Like - 10. Then Aunt Dee died that June. The family got together for her funeral, but, after years of fertility treatments, I was in the third trimester of an uneventful pregnancy. I stayed home.
At the funeral, my Uncle Paul announced that he would have his ranch completed by Christmas, and as the place slept 27, we were all invited. After all that time - another family Christmas.
The ranch made a perfect Christmas for me, but not because it was beautiful - which it was - featured in a photo spread for Texas Monthly, or because it was warm and sunny - guess who brought a collection of sweaters and turtle necks? (At least my cousin took pity on me and lent me a tee shirt!). The best part about it was that a whole new generation of second cousins picked up where their parents left off 10 years earlier. We were all together. There's nothing like walking into a room full of people who love you, and after so much time, are happy to see you. Carrying a new baby in my arm and watching her learn to rip the paper off her packages was worth the heat and the time and the distance and the parents and uncles and aunts who are - as a generation - starting to forget what they had for breakfast.
Acceptance - the loving of one's kin wholly - is the greatest gift. Having a daughter to add to that family was better than best.
However, the 10 foot rattlesnake that cousin Scott shot and then stuffed - that creaped me out, but what's a family gathering without a little venom?
Causes Emilie Bush Supports
Playpumps, Lutheran Disaster Relief, My local church and food pantry.