Was she ever tired. After a full day of watching six toddlers, Ashley was about ready to collapse.
If the weather had been nicer, it likely would have been a less exhausting, hectic day. Around noon, however, a huge snowstorm blew in, with
harsh winds. This had been a day where everyone had to stay in the house – and two-year-olds definitely got restless. It was all she could to do keep them from literally climbing the walls. Fortunately, the storm had cleared, and their parents had been able to get through to pick them up.
Ashley sighed. Unfortunately, her day wasn’t over yet. The whole family was coming over tomorrow evening, for Christmas Eve dinner, and she had preparations to make. Cleaning, cooking, wrapping gifts – the list seemed endless. Preparing her house for 14 visitors was not her idea of fun.
“Whatever possessed me to offer to host Christmas Eve?” she grumbled aloud.
Picking up the toys and putting them back in their bins, Ashley wished her mom was still around. She had always hosted this celebration, but with her untimely death last June, it seemed it was now her responsibility. None of her siblings had homes big enough to hold everyone, so she had offered hers.
“I need to at least get into the Christmas mood.”
Ashley went over to her stereo and found a station with Christmas music, turning it up so she could hear it throughout the house.
She went into her bedroom and grabbed the presents she needed to wrap. They were modest, as it had been a tough year. Listening to the music, however, she smiled. She began singing along to her all-time favorite carol, “The Little Drummer Boy.”
“These gifts,” she thought, “came from my heart, regardless of how much I spent on them.. Baby Jesus received precious, expensive, valuable gifts, but he smiled at a song, which cost nothing.”
Finishing up her wrapping, she headed for the kitchen. The rest of the family was bringing much of the food – her only responsibility was the pies. As she worked, she sighed.
“I’m so tired of baking – I just did it for a party, and now here I go again!”
Begrudgingly, she worked on the pie filling as the oven preheated. Glancing over at the pecan pie recipe, she saw a note her mother had scribbled on the side.
Don’t forget to glaze the pecans, and to toss in a pinch of love.
Ashley laughed. Only HER mother would write something like that. When she’d made the pie last year, mom had come over and whispered to her the “error” in her pie-making ways. Ashley had been pretty grumpy, wallowing in self-pity when she found out – for a few minutes, anyway. Mom must have dug out the recipe at some point when she was visiting and scribbled the note on.
Mom was definitely not a writer – Ashley had precious few examples of her handwriting. This recipe, she decided, would be a treasure for her forever. This could have been the last thing her mother had ever written. It was certainly the most precious to Ashley.
As she put the pie into the oven – pecans glazed and pinch of love added – preparations seemed somehow less daunting. Mother was definitely here helping her along, and she could tell it was going to be a merry, blessed Christmas.
(c) Joanne Sher 2011
Joanne Sher is a Christian writer saved out of Judaism, traveling rough roads with God's strength. She loves to blog, encourage, write, and spend time with her family. Learn more about her at http://www.joannesher.com.
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