My sisters are coming! My sisters are coming!

These words were joyfully on my heart last night as I prepared for a family dinner with my sisters and their families. I listened to Christmas music as I cleaned, organized, set the table, cooked, ironed and got my little “gifts” ready for all of the girls.

What would be a gift that we girls could all share, that would remind of us our Mother, who gave us such a valuable and precious gift – the gift of hospitality? A remembrance of how she taught us to cook, bake, give, share … and enjoy it all in the process?

An apron! Something we girls could pull out at Christmas time and think of each other as we tied it on. Something that would go far deeper than the idea of a gift, but that has “heritage” and the gift of hospitality written all over it.

After I purchased the aprons and was boxing them up (I will admit, I wanted the boxes to look just right), my mind couldn’t help but think of something that my Mom did not teach us to do.

Mom didn’t teach us girls about perfectionism – that things had to look a certain way, that she had to act a certain way, and that she should beat herself up if a dinner didn’t turn out “just right.” No, as Mom tied her apron around her waist, she was gracious and calm and at ease in her kitchen, and with her guests. Even with her home, she was not a perfectionist (although we girls did learn how to clean, sometimes on our hands and knees!). I never remember Mom throwing a tizzy-fit when a meal didn’t turn out, or if she miscalculated the timing of a dish, and we’d all have to wait to eat, or if someone showed up to the house unannounced. And she certainly didn’t apologize for errors (Commandment #7), but graciously moved through the evening with finesse and flair.

As I wore my apron last night, I thought of Mom. I needed to apply her principle of perfectionism to my current circumstances. And that would be – to let the idea of a new, fancy-schmancy, perfect kitchen remodel go (as we all gathered in one of the tiniest rooms in the house)! As we all joined around the turkey dinner (buffet style on my kitchen counter), filling our plates, I found myself frustrated in trying to maneuver around everyone, and even muttered under my breath, “I hate this kitchen!” (and then I turned to see if anyone heard me).

Mom would never have made an issue of it. She would have served and looked for the joy in the moment!

I hung my apron up at the end of the evening, and reflected back on my aspiration for the night. Did we enjoy the spirit of breaking bread together? Did we partake in much laughter as we all shared our answers to Paul’s question for the evening, “What was our most memorable Christmas tradition or memory?” Did we all chuckle when we had to sing our “family prayer” twice, because Josh started us too high the first time? Did we enjoy Abby’s beautiful gift of sharing her violin and Steve’s incredible talent on the piano? Did we enjoy the gift of each other, putting aside any differences?

Did our night have soul and meaning?

Yes! Mission accomplished!!

I know my sisters would agree. Not only did all the girls walk away with a new apron last night, I’m convinced a deeper understanding of the true necessity of how much we really need each other was cultivated a bit deeper into our hearts.

(Photos: The girls and their aprons (yes, a pregnant mommy), including Hoppi, who joined us and cooked a most outrageously moist, yummy turkey; Mom in her Christmas apron; me and my sisters)

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