Eighteen children, 3rd and 4th graders, with 3 teachers and my husband as a driver, came to the CLC party last night --in a 90-minute window before we had to get the van back to the church. We had 2 vans and went to the Ridgewood Manor Nursing Home where they said we could carol briefly into hallways--which we did a couple of hallways --and then raced to our house for refreshments. Daughter-in-law Charlotte had prepared rice krispie treats with Christmas sprinkles on them, red cupcakes, frosted cookies --all so delicious --and provided several munchies to choose from and cheese cubes. The kids just oohed and aahed about the decorations and the house --which has taken several days and helpers to pull together for the holidays--and they scarfed down the food.
They said, "You're RICH! Miss Barb!" I said, "Well, if you think so, let me tell you --my husband out there [who was serving the green sherbet punch to them] has worked VERY HARD since 7th grade when he decided that God wanted him to be a doctor. He worked very hard in school and has been working very hard ever since then. He works most all the time. And that's why we have a big house."
One of the girls said, "That's what my Mom tells me --go to college first and then get married."
My house is not unusual but big (5 bedrooms, full walk-out basement), (One realtor called it "toledo colonial"-- no grand foyers or great rooms so popular and grand today, not the most elaborate and grand in Toledo Suburbs by any means, and the decor is fading, over 20 years old the carpet and wall paper, and we own so much stuff --clutter -- music and magazines and mail and catalogues, staitionary, knick knacks --and Christmas decorations galore. We do tidy and fix up for a party and maximize the assets with lighting, candles, colorful accenting, etc.
Most of these children are from new and lovely, though comparatively smaller, Habitat for Humanity homes.
One little girl said, "I feel like a lady here!"
Shivinder said of the lime sherbet punch, "It was this green foamy punch with ice cream in it and 7-up and they served it from a bowl!!!!" (We've done that at church; I don't know how he missed it --it was better this time, for some reason. Maybe it's only ladies' showers, though, when we've had it.)
We did light the candles, played christmas music, and my husband has these white Christmas trees on our porch with neon blue lights --I mean BRIGHT! And I think it clashes with our colonial yellow house lights/window candles/reds and greens --but I quit protesting and he put up three of them and they sure do light up the neighborhood!! I did clean and brighten up the old-fashioned crystal chandelier from the 60's when our house was built. And I showed them the indoor 10x18 pool (which is our exceptional luxury feature for our health --and a conversation piece) and they do want to come back. Some said they wanted to live here. We may try a swim party for half the group at a time later in the year.
They all took more food than they could eat, so I gave them baggies for their leftovers. For gifts they got a Bible Trivia booklet and a CD of Christmas carols by Third Day --and Jon provided big Snicker bars for all. Inga shopped for me.
Jon's van was a little late to the church, and the bus kids were supposed to all stay in the van --but they all piled out and into the church, making their ride home a few minutes later still.
but finally, I assume everyone was returned home. My husband thought it was great to have them in and out as fast as it happened, but it felt too rushed --there were a few crushed M&M's here and there. If I had it to do over, I would've had them keep their shoes on --to save time --as they weren't going to be walking around all that much --but everybody automatically took them off when they entered --as we customarily do. Some little boys were inching up the stairs wanting to see the upstairs which was off limits.
It wasn't a party for much spiritual Christmasey reflection--but they sang some carols and received those on CD --and I hope those lyrics will become as meaningful to them in their lives as they are to me.
Their behavior at the nursing home was excellent --and at my house, also --except for a couple of guys rudeness to each other (2 of our regulars who've grown up in church.) My husband said the van ride was loud and that somebody behind him was asking the various kids if they were gay or lesbian. I tell you, the topic is nationally omnipresent when even the children are aware. We hadn't planned to discuss that in Trail Blazers.
"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible