Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Does It Get Any Better?

I really have not been in a very Christmasy mood this year. I don't know why exactly.

Maybe it's because this is our first Christmas with no children left in the nest. Perhaps it is that Shannon is halfway around the world. Or, maybe I've just become an old Scrooge.

As a parent in a blended family (parents and step-children), Christmas has always been a struggle. Trying to arrange where the kids will be and when for the holidays was never easy. It always added an extra bit of stress.

Now that Amy is married with a blended family of her own, that pressure hasn't gone away completely. But she and TJ always manage to work things out nicely. She and the kids will be coming here on Christmas Eve. We're hoping Eric won't have to work so that he can join us. Or maybe he'll want to be here on Christmas morning. Maybe both.

But that still leaves Shannon. In India of all places for the Christmas holiday. I might be revealing some ignorance here, but that's okay. I am not afraid to admit that I don't know everything.

I always thought India was a Hindu and/or Muslim country. While the majority of the population is Hindu or Muslim, about 25% of Indians are Christians. Christmas is actually celebrated with quite a lot of fanfare in India. It is even a national holiday, so everyone, irrespective of their religion, gets to enjoy it along with the Christians.

Of course, that begs the question of whether it will it be harder for Shannon to be alone on Christmas in a nation that actually celebrates Christmas. Or would it be better in a place that doesn't celebrate the holiday? So she doesn't miss her family too terribly much?

We'll never know. Because, although Shannon won't be with us, she will not be alone for Christmas.

The way things have worked out, she is only in India now because of her visa delay (she had a hard time getting a visa). She is currently making her way across the northern parts of the country. By the time Christmas rolls around, she'll be in the south, in a city called Bangalore.

The company I work for has a sizable operation in Bangalore. I don't know many of my Indian coworkers well since we don't speak often, mainly because of the time difference. But there's a woman named Joyce who works in the Bangalore office doing the same job as me. We do interact by e-mail occasionally, so I sent her an e-mail asking if she had any recommendations to share with Shannon for her pending visit.

Shannon will be arriving in Bangalore on December 23rd or 24th.

While Joyce was more than willing to give Shannon some recommendations, she did even better. She invited Shannon to stay at her house and spend Christmas with her family.

Hubby and I were both quite touched by that very kind, generous and completely unexpected offer. I mean, Joyce has a husband and two daughters (ages 10 and 16 months). Who would ever think she would invite a stranger to her house for Christmas?

Well, Joyce did invite that stranger (Shannon) to stay. And Shannon accepted. So Shannon will get to spend Christmas with a family after all.

Not just any family, either. A very special family with children. A Christian family that celebrates Christmas like we do.

While I know Shannon will miss everyone over the holidays, I think it is her niece and nephews that she'll miss the most. Because children are what makes Christmas so magical.

As I have told Joyce, we will never be able to thank her enough for opening her home and heart to our daughter. Of course, knowing what a special person Shannon is, I know Joyce won't be sorry. And apparently Joyce's oldest daughter is already making plans for Shannon's visit.

I don't think it does get any better. I've got some Christmas spirit now!


  1. Aaaaaw, that's so sweet. I'm glad you've got the spirit! I'm excited to get away from extended family negativity. Blended families are definitely difficult especially when you have a blended family yourself and your spouse has a large blended family that includes a manipulative, psychotic mother-in-law!

  2. Shoot. Now I'm crying because I'm thinking about just how much I will miss the kids this Christmas (and the rest of the family, of course). But being with Joyce and her kids should be nice. It was very sweet for her to offer to host me.


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