Grandma always relished watching everyone enjoy her pies. But mostly she took joy in seeing the whole family assembled under one roof, at one table. Holidays were the only time that busy schedules could be put aside and gathering as a family made the priority, as Grandma thought it should be.
Unfortunately, over the past few years, our grandparents and parents have all passed away, and with them the family gatherings. My brothers have married and scattered, and I, too, moved away and am now engaged. I miss my family terribly, and those few precious times we spent with each other every year.
I've been fortunate, however, to find a soul mate whose family is much like mine was, a family that has adopted me as one of their own. They have those gatherings during the holidays and treasure them, just as my family used to treasure ours. The dishes may be different and the family memories ones I don't share; nevertheless, every year as I gather with my new family, I can still smell Grandma's pies baking in the oven. And then I know that all is well and that the family endures.
Thank you, Delilah, for allowing me to share my holiday story. I'm starting my third (and thankfully last) year here in Iraq, and I needed something to bring a smile to my face. I'm looking forward to three weeks' leave in December, so I can share Christmas and my 27th birthday with my fiancée and other loved ones. And also to remember those before them, who taught me so much about what the holidays mean and how truly special they can be.
Take care and may God bless! David