Thanks for sticking around for the 2nd part of my Kathyland Surprisecation tales.
Where was I? Oh yes, on the ground at Ontario International Airport.
Having landed at 11:59pm, I raced out to the Rental Car Shuttle and hoped there'd be a decent-sized-non-smokey car that was available. There was, I rented it, got lost leaving Budget Rental and still made it to In-N-Out on Vineyard before they closed at 1:00am. Which was a huge relief, I can assure you! It's not a trip home until I've driven thru In-N-Out.
By 1:30 I was at my brother's house talking with my nephew Jeff while we enjoyed the hamburgery deliciousness that is INO.
The next day was basically hanging out with my brother Brian & my nephews Matt & Jeff. I'd initially planned to be at my parents house by noon, but was enjoying the hanging out part too much to leave. When you don't live close to family, you tend to want to savor each moment you have with them.
My sister Diane called several times thruout the day for status updates. Since she was embedded (I've always wanted to use that word in a post!) at the family compound (that word too) she spoke in 'code' by pretending I was her husband. Yeah, we're geeks, I know!
The plan was for Di to somehow get everyone off the porch and into the house so they wouldn't see me as I drove up. Watches were syncronized and I called Di one last time when I was 5 minutes out. Then I was there, driving on their street, going past their house and turning around at the end of the cul de sac. Parked out of sight and as I approached the house my nephew Casey met me out front to serve as a shield as I walked up the front sidewalk. Casey is 6'7" and if there was anyone I could hide behind, it was Casey.
We walked up to the porch, in the front door, then I stepped around him and ran thru the living room into the family room and SCREAMED '"Merry Christmas Eve"!!
My niece Lindsay & sister Kelly screamed. My Dad & Mom started crying...and staring at me like they were seeing a ghost. I went up to hug them and they just about squeezed the life out of me! By then Kelly & Lindsay were crying. It was awesome...seriously, one of the best surprises I had pulled off to date.
After explaining the why's and wherefore's of my trip..and hugging everyone at least twice if not three times, it was time for a sisterly tradition...the drinking of the Jagerbombs!
Nothing says Christmas Eve like Jagerbombs with your sisters!
As more relatives arrived, they were suprised to see me on the front porch with the rest of my family. This was the first time in 7 years that we were all together for our family Christmas Eve shindig.
What made it extra special was my nephew Patrick was in town from Brockton, MA so not only were the original 5 Kish kids all under one roof, but all their kids were in attendance as well. It was awesome!
See for yourself!
Brian, Me, Patrick, Diane, Kelly, Dad & Mom
Watching the opening of the presents!
Mom & Dad with my nephew Patrick (visiting from MA)
A small portion of the menu :-)
It turned out to be an awesome night. I got to catch up with EVERYONE which was so satisfying on so many different levels. All families have their differences and ours is no exception, but when it comes to family get-togethers, we're all on the same page. For so many years this event would take place and I'd be on the East Coast or Denver, hoping that my well-timed phone call would let me talk with as many family members as possible. It was nice, but nowhere near perfect.
This year, Christmas Eve was perfect. I had my whole family in one room (and my sister-in-law Michele was watching us from heaven, I'm sure of it!) and it was honestly and truly the best feeling in the world.
It didn't matter what holiday we were celebrating as long as we were celebrating all together.
Thanks Universe for allowing me to be with everyone I love the most.