Since 97, on the first Sunday in December I hold an ornament swap with my girlfriends. It motivates me to get all my decorating done and believe me I need it. I'd be hanging lights on Christmas day without proper motivation. And I hope it gets all my friends into the Christmas spirit.
We eat first, always fun appetizers. This year I made the best sausage balls ever in the history of mankind. And I am famous for my fruit tarts. Then we draw numbers and play dirty Santa.
Some years it even gets violent. One of my friends, who I will refer to as Sportsmom even pushed me down in her haste to snatch an ornament from me. And one year she brought her mom with an ornamant so she could take home two since her mom doesn't put up a tree. She played nice this year. And it's all in fun. You know I love you Sportsmom.
Another friend, Volunteermom swore she was never coming again because she always gets the dud ornament. Some of us do have strange taste. This year she left very happy.
Then there's my friend, Travelagentmom who makes sure the rules are obeyed. Her daughter came this year, anxious to start her own ornament collection. I also think they were conspiring together. We all have been known to do that. We also have to tell where we got the ornament so if you don't get waht you want you can go buy it yourself.
One friend showed up late and ended up staying a couple of hours after eveyone left. We sat on the sofa and talked about our year. Christmas music was playing and the only lights came from the tree and the candles that were on their last bit of light.
This friend, Tennismom, has breast cancer. She had lost all her hair to chemo and it was growing back thick and curly. She found out about the cancer last year right after the party. so much can happen in a year. And as it turns out, she might not have that many more years with us.
Some of us only see each other at this event. Our lives have changed so much since it started. It originally was all the moms from baseball with a few more thrown in. One of the sons died in a tragic accident, one is divorced, one missed it last year because her daughter was in the hospital with a broken pelvis and almost missed it because her son was in the hospital with a collasped lung. A few have moved away.
Yet every year we pick up as if it hasn't been a year. We are always connected. We have the same values, the same joys, the same tragedys. Some bonds can't be broken.
i'm already looking forward to next year. I better get shopping for my ornament.