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The past two weeks have been a blur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My plans of making the traditional Clark Christmas goodies flew out the window when our newest granddaughter was born four weeks early on December 19. Thankfully Noelle Maria arrived healthy and is doing well. 

The week I spent with our daughter and her family, including three year old Mia and two year old Sofie, was filled with bedtime stories and morning snuggles. Mia often woke before Sofie and would come join me in my comfy spot on the sofa. Through her long, tousled hair she would say in a sleepy voice, “I love you, G Mama.” As much as I would have liked to sleep later, I wouldn’t trade the early morning moments spent with her for anything. 

Mia liked watching me go through my morning routine. While I washed my face and dressed, she looked through my jewelry pouch, taking out and trying on bracelets. Later I showed her my makeup bag. She wanted to know why I had paintbrushes, so I began to explain what each brush was used for. 

Less than a week later our son and daughter-in-law from Lake Tahoe arrived for a week in Texas. They stayed in one of our large tents - one of the perks of having a glamping business - with their two dogs. Evenings around the dining table were sweet. Whether it was just the two of them with Houston and me or if our East Dallas son and daughter-in-law were able to join us, we had a wonderful time. And Christmas Day with most of the family, including my mom who recently moved to Corsicana, filled my heart. 

Then on New Year's Day our California kids left to return home. Immediately I went from days filled with talking, laughter and good food (our son is a chef and his wife is a pastry chef) to utter quiet. While Houston took the time to recharge his introvert batteries, I experienced great sorrow. 

Years ago, when going through a 12 step course, I learned the importance of identifying feelings and analyzing what they were prompting me to do. For me, on that chilly Texas morning, talking it over with my supportive husband, I realized that spending time with family is something I want to prioritize. Maybe that sounds cliche. Some of you may think, of course you’d want to spend more time with family. But for us, with the responsibilities of our farm, not to mention the expenses, it’s challenging. 

So in 2024 I will make a point of playing games with my granddaughters, eating meals with our Dallas kids and scheduling video dates with our children on each coast. Houston and I are also working on a solution that would include someone else staying on the farm when we aren’t there. And you better believe I’ll be setting aside cash for visits to those who live far away!

This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the January 6, 2024 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

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