It’s true that living far from family is often most noticeable around those times of the year that tend to be most full of family. Holidays are the most obvious, and Christmas – at least for us – is the most extreme.
When we lived in Edmonton, we lived close enough to both our families to have Christmas Eve with my mom, aunt, other relatives, and often times a sibling or two of mine, plus spouses and kids. Then Christmas day with Susan’s family. Then often we’d get together with extended family – other aunts, uncles, cousins etc a few days later. This could very well spiral into seeing 100 close family members over the few days between the 24th of December and the end of the year. However, when you move several thousand kilometers away, that tends to really slow down. Noel 2013 was our fourth Christmas here in France: the first two we were by ourselves, last year Susan’s parents were here, and this year my mom came. Mom got here the week before the kids were done school, and left early (as in, 03.25 departure from our house) on the 30th. The time in between was spent hanging out, doing some small outings, and a LOT of treasure hunts.
My mom is pretty much the undisputed queen of treasure hunts. She will sneak off into the yard and hide a series of consecutive clues all over the place, one giving hints for the location of the next, until the kids finally arrive at the treasure at the end. I am also sure that her suitcase has some kind of Mary-Popping-magic-carpet-bag power, as she seems to be able to pull out a seemingly infinite number of treasures for the finale of the hunts.
We went to the Marché de Noël just down in Grenoble, took in the sights, had some treats, looked at the lights.
We drove up into the Chartreuse mountains to hike by the Carthusian monastery, then drove down to see where those industrious monks mix up their infamous hooch.
We also took some walks around our place, spent time hanging out with grandma, strolled walk around the chateau grounds in Vizille, read stories, made cinnamon buns, played games, and just did a bunch of ‘gradma-y’ things.
That also means that Grandma was here for Christmas itself.