As I think I’ve mentioned before, Epiphany has always been as important a holiday as Christmas with my family. We go to midnight mass, have a big dinner, get stocking stuffed and gifts from Santa on Christmas; but Epiphany is when we exchange gifts with each other.
This year was a bit more subdued than some previous years have been. My sister, still recovering from pneumonia was sleeping about 18 out of every 24 hours, my brother Tim had to work and also was slammed with some nasty flu bug. But we did manage to all gather that Sunday to spend a day relaxing as a family. I love the feeling when both of my brothers and my sister and I are home. There’s a different dynamic when it’s all four of us, though I’m hard pressed to find words to express it.
Isabella loved all the attention from her grandparents, her uncles and her aunt and they were completely smitten with her. it’s a very different scene than gatherings on the Bettinelli side where she is just one more kid in the herd, well-loved and appreciated but by no means the center of adult attention.
My family tends to be very laid-back about exchanging presents. We always sit down at some point during the day (It gets later every year.) and have a massive present opening; but we never really stress about finding the perfect gift. Not everyone gives a present to everyone else every year. No one keeps score. We just enjoy giving when we find (or make) something we think another will like and we don’t worry if we come to the party empty-handed.
The best present we opened this year was from Tim, the artist. He drew a lovely portrait of Dom, Bella and I, with elements taken from a couple of different photographs. I’ll have to try to scan it in so I can post it. I also got some books from my wish list, some of my favorite chocolates, and a few other thoughtful odds and ends.
But really the best gift of all was time spent with my family. The yearly scrabble game in which I once again reigned supreme (though by a very, very close margin) was the perfect closer to a perfect day. I love my family and wish we didn’t live so far away.
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