In my plight (fancy word) to become less of a Scrooge and to try and find my holiday spirit, I had put a plan into action (see previous blog). Here is how day one proceeded:
Last night we piled the kids in the van (some more willing than others) and we drove to Layton where we had a wonderful dinner at the Noodle Co, together as a family. By the end of dinner, all 3 kids were happy and gave less attitude.
With Christmas music playing on the radio, we went and saw the Layton City Park lights. Christmas dinosaurs, mermaids, dolphins, bears, unicorns, and snakes all lit up the park and the kids enjoyed pointing out the various light-sculpted figurines. The line to drive through was long, but we were patient, sang songs together and enjoyed ourselves. Had we dressed better for the weather, walking through the park would have been ideal. Next year maybe.
But for me, and I really even think for the kids as well, the highlight of the evening was the spur of the moment idea to go and visit my step-mother-in-law’s parents, who happen to live in Layton as well. Her parent’s, the Quintana’s, are absolutely wonderful. Even though Scott is the “step-son” of their oldest daughter, you’d never know it by them. They treat us with absolute kindness and love.
Mr. Quintana has had his unfair share of life’s heath issues this past year or two—ranging from a brain clot that led to surgery and the removal of a large section of his skull, to more recently having been diagnoses with pancreatic cancer, which has kept him from being able to have his skull replaced (he is simply too weak for more surgery). This 86-year-old man told us “I’m a fighter. I’m hanging in there and maybe I’ll get me a gold-plated skull someday.” And he smiled continually—one of the best smiles I have ever seen.
This family is a close-knit, very loving family. When we showed up at their door at 8:30pm, not only were Mr. and Mrs. Quintana there, but three of their five daughters and a son-law were there as well. We were quickly ushered inside the magical winter wonderland they had created in their home, complete with tree, lights, moving Christmas village and various Christmas décor that took up every inch of their small home. The kids were enthralled. We were hugged and welcomed by everyone, and were quickly told to sit and stay.
I don’t know how long Mr. Quinta has. His health and time here on earth is slipping away. But watching his family care and love him was inspirational. My prayers go out to them. I am completely grateful Scott had the idea to stop by and visit with them. Because having done so, really brought with it a great sense of the Christmas spirit I was desperately in need of.
This is what Christmas is all about. It truly is.
I hope my children take away from that experience as much as I did. It wasn’t about the Noodle Co. or the lights at the park—it’s about family and time, and the people we love.