We had a cousins talent show and gift exchange with Steve’s family. Hallie was the only one that presented from our family singing a Christmas song. Hunter thought about singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas. But then he decided the only way he would perform is if he could sing Feliz Navidad. Which of course he didn’t know all the words to and and requested I join him. That didn’t happen.

There were piano solos and duets, singing, poems recited and bells. Yes, bells. One family claims no talent so they play the bells – you can tell they have a great time with this family talent!

After all the families presented, Steve’s mom was sharing some thoughts. I was somewhat distracted trying to keep Bennett quiet and occupied and trying to convince Hunter to stop rolling around the middle of the living room that I didn’t hear a whole lot, looking around the room, many were distracted. But Hallie was in the middle of the floor sitting on her heels with her arms folded looking intently at her Nana. She heard every sweet word that came out of her lips. I saw her from across the room with tears welled up in her eyes. A tear rolled down her cheek and she didn’t even attempt to wipe it away. I quickly made my way across the room to put my arms around that sweet and sensitive child. She didn’t even flinch as tears continued to roll down her face. She finally did one swoop of her sweater arm across her eyes so she could see again. At that point, I too focused and listened intently and it was a great message. But I wonder what part of the message initially touched her so deeply. Such a tender moment.

The talent show alone would not be a popular event – but throw in a cousin’s gift exchange and you have yourself a party! This was the first year that Hunter participated because I felt it was probably the first year he would understand it well enough to not cry. (There’s gift stealing and it doesn’t always go over well!) No crying is one of the only rules!

Hunter stole a 3ft candy cane full of gumballs from his same aged cousin. I reiterated to him that it wasn’t really his gift and someone else would be taking it from him. I was right. And I was grateful – Hunter is grounded from gum – he’s still learning where he can and can’t put chewed gum! He had his pick of a whole room of gifts and he chose the Froot Loops. Hallie had multiple gifts stolen from her and each time she found a new gift she liked equally as much. She had one final steal at the end that landed her with a box full of candy. She couldn’t have been happier!