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Column

Holiday bundles of joy

Planning family gatherings for the holidays always seems to be an interesting undertaking. Thankfully since meeting my husband, Tim, we have not faced any big drama outbreaks when trying to plan time with both sides of the family.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite days. I love Christmas, but some years I look forward to the November holiday even more. The exuberance to transition into the Christmas spirit often causes Thanksgiving to feel somewhat overlooked.

To me, Thanksgiving is a simpler holiday, based on family, food and fellowship. Perhaps this is why sometimes my enjoyment of Thanksgiving exceeds even that of Christmas.

Both holidays have a focus on love, faith and joy. However sometimes the added cheer of Christmas and desire to give the perfect gift sometimes overwhelms the simpler parts of the holiday.

Regardless of my current holidays rankings, I enjoy them the most when spent with family. Tim and I both remain close with our families. It’s one of the reasons I married him. He understood why family was so important to me because it is the same for him. For the past few years, we have worked out a good system to try to keep both sides of the family happy and give us time to enjoy with both.

This year for Thanksgiving, we are following the same outline as last year which seemed to work out very well. We will have three Thanksgiving meals to attend. Each will be different, but they will be fitting for the occasion. We always start with the big family gathering at my grandma’s house Thursday and then enjoy the smaller affairs with Tim’s parents and mine.

This year’s plan is simple, with one small but rather significant difference — a new arrival to the clan. My brother James and his wife Ashley are expecting their first child. Their little bundle of joy was due Nov. 23, which has come and gone with no signs of labor. Their doctor allowed them to choose an induction date and they selected Nov. 26. So as I began this column Tuesday morning, we were all eagerly awaiting updates on my niece’s arrival to the world.

My parents got a hotel room in Ames to be sure they were close by for the arrival of their first grandchild. Between their messages and my brother’s, my sister, our husbands and I were all looped in throughout the day on Ashley and baby’s progress. Group text messages are wonderful.

After more than 12 hours, James and Ashley welcomed Mackenzie Ruth Rodgers into the world at 8:43 p.m. She weighed 6 pounds 14 ounces and measured 20 inches long. Both parents were over the moon at the baby girl’s arrival. I can’t wait to officially meet her.

Her first name has significance to our side of the family. It’s a combination of my grandfathers’ names — Mac for Grandpa Rodgers and Ken for Grandpa Bushong. They had kept the name a secret until after the birth so when my Dad relayed the name and the significance behind it, I began to cry. Both our grandfathers are no longer with us, and it is a wonderful tribute to two great men.

Christmas planning will be in a similar state of limbo. You see, Mackenzie won’t be the only new addition to the family this year. Tim and I will be welcoming our own little bundle of joy into the world right around Christmas. The official due date for Baby Pratt is Dec. 27 but babies work on their own schedule, as we witnessed with our new niece. Tim and I will be in a similar state as James and Ashley as the Christmas holiday draws near awaiting our own little one.

One difference for our journey into parenthood is we decided not to find out the gender of our baby until he or she is born. That gives us an extra special Christmas surprise this year. We pray God continues to bless us with a healthy pregnancy and delivers to us a healthy baby at the end of this adventure.

This holiday season is definitely one to remember with a Thanksgiving and Christmas baby. To say we are merely thankful this year would be an understatement.

Contact Pam Pratt at pampratt@newtondailynews.com

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