And it wasn’t quite as awful as I thought it was going to be.

We had lots of fun and exchanged presents.

All of my gifts came from my 5 year old niece this year. I took her shopping on the eve of Christmas Eve. She made a list of everyone she wanted to buy for and had to find the perfect gift. After 2 different stores (a crappy Target and an amazing Ross, in the same shopping strip) and roughly 2.5 hours, we had found all of the gifts Baeleigh wanted to give to everyone. Even me. And I didn’t see what it was until Christmas morning. Thank God for attentive cashiers who love children.

We got them home and wrapped them together. She buried mine in tissue paper and taped the box closed on her own so I could help her wrap it.

It was precious. And it rebirthed the spirit of Christmas in my heart.

Not because she got me something but because I saw her lighting up with the knowledge of the meaning of Christmas and the discovery of how fun it is to give.

My favorite was today’s gift.

My sisters and I surprised Mom by hiring a photographer (an old classmate of mine) to take family photos of us at Mom’s house. 2pm snuck up on us and Kristin rang the doorbell before we had finished our makeup or gotten Mom to change clothes. Kristin walked around the property to find some spots to shoot while I handed Mom a sweater and told her to go change.

Kristin got some amazing images and has already given us a sneak peak.

We all ended up crying and laughing. Even Kristin.

If I could, I would live here with Mom and spend every waking moment with her. Spending this time with her has given me courage to come back more often.

I definitely need to get an oil change asap, though, before these miles burn up my engine.