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2003-12-26 - 8:52 p.m.

My birthday was on the 24th. I turned 24. It is a date I have been looking forward to ever since my brother turned 4 on the 4th of September, and he got extra presents because it was his golden birthday. I remember thinking, "I'm going to have to wait until I turn 24?! That's SO LONG TO WAIT. I'll be an ADULT." And here I am! My golden birthday come and gone already.

AND! It was the best birthday in living memory. The best Christmas! Everyone was happy and in good cheer. We had a great turn out for the dice game this year. (except Emily, who had a good excuse. Spending Christmas with her family... weird) I got the best gift of all.

On the 23rd I was having a bad day. I started crying in the car while I was driving my brother around. I don't know why. Traffic was bad and I flipped out for no reason. We drove home and I took a nap. I was feeling down.

Then I got a phone call. From JIMMIE. Who was in MINNESOTA.


I actually called him the second time to tell him that I wasn't going to be around for his phone call, which was when he told me. So I stayed until he got to our house. Which sort of ruined the surprise, but since MapQuest had him going on a road that doesn't exist to get to my house, it's probably just as well.

If that wasn't the best phone call I've ever had, it's certainly in the top five.

I was waiting by the window talking on the phone to him when he drove up. I put on my dad's shoes to go outside to him. He had a big smile on his face. I'm sure I did too.

The man drove 20 hours over night to see me for two nights. Then it was 20 hours over night back to work. What a guy! What a surprise to see him! What a wonderful holiday!

Jimmie fit right in with the family. It was the first time that anyone I've been dating has met my parents and they were more concerned how HE felt about THEM and not the other way around. In fact, everyone here liked him. We all had so much fun. It was wonderful having Jimmie here, and by wonderful I mean some word not existing in English that means a lot more than wonderful.

I love Christmas time. I love buying presents for people and I love receiving thoughtful gifts. I love getting together with the family. I love the magic of the season.

This was the most magical Christmas.

Going out to Old Chicago with Emily.

Playing Scrabble.

Watching Jimmie take off his shirt as I walk right into the exercise equipment.

Jimmie laughing at me.

Everyone singing "Happy Birthday" and walking towards me slowly.

My dad blowing out the candles at the end of the song.

Us making fun of him for blowing out my birthday candles.

The necklace and bottles of wine I got for my birthday.

The delicious wine Jimmie brought me.

Mom and Aunt Mary dancing to my harp playing.

Emily giving me the Hobbit game for my birthday as a joke.

Jacob asking if the present I got him has any purpose.

Jeffy stealing the Hello Kitty prize at the dice game.

Larry stealing all the lotion, and everyone chanting, "steal Larry's lotion!"

Jeffy stealing the lotion and everyone clapping.

Jimmie winning the $50 prize and splitting it with my younger cousin who was seconds too late to steal it from him.

Having fun playing stacks.

Winning a $10 hand of showdown.

Mom singing an Offspring song.

Ron and Dad playing a Scrabble game in the back room and refusing to tell anyone the score.

Sleeping next to Jimmie in our Christmas pajamas.

Jeffy and I running towards the presents in slow motion, with Hannah and Jimmie behind us.

The feeling of love as we all scratch off stacks of lottery tickets together.

Pancakes. Filet mignon.

Going back to the house early from Aunt Christine's house to say goodbye properly.

The terrible movie we saw Christmas night after Jimmie left. (Would I have really enjoyed ANY movie?)

These are all wonderful memories. Even the terrible movie. We all kept making faces at each other and laughing at how bad some scenes were. But my favorite memory from this Christmas season is Jimmie giving me a hug in the kitchen right after we got up, still sleepy and unwashed, and telling me I'm beautiful.

I'm so lucky.

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