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  • A Holiday to Remember

    For Christmas Eve dinner, the oldest ate niblets, the youngest (by a minute) had a sandwich and Captain Crunch. The girls had mac and cheese and guacamole and chips.

    In the always-wacky month that is December, this had to be the cherry on top. (I think those were in a jar on aisle 6.)

    This Christmas was spent in Chicago with all four kids as we followed Ben and “Newsies” to the Windy City. Maybe it was being far from home, with a makeshift Christmas in a hotel, or perhaps it was that the three teens and 22-year-old are getting older and increasingly moving in different directions, but the family time together this particular year seemed very special.

    Of course, it didn’t hurt that we started the week off with a cabaret in a gay bar, had Christmas Eve dinner at CVS, “adopted” a few others for Christmas Day lunch, constantly toured the city on foot, and marked the fourth of four December birthdays at Harry Carey’s bar.

    Now, about that Christmas Eve dinner…

    After touring the city, including a stop by the Contemporary Art Museum to see the David Bowie exhibit with Jill and Ben’s tutor/guardian/extended family member Bernadette, we waited for the show to get out from the matinee. Ben was done by 5:30, but the long line of “toursies” kept him occupied.

    We had a large lunch planned for Christmas Day, so it didn’t make sense to spend a lot of money for a meal, so we started looking for places to go. As you can imagine, there wasn’t much open — except for a CVS.

    And so another family memory was made.

    The next morning, we woke up, opened gifts with the family in Ben’s decorated room (yes, he had a small tree!), and then went to lunch with Bernadette, Chaz and Melissa from the show. After that, it was time for our Christmas Day tradition — an afternoon movie. Appropriately, it was a musical (“Into the Woods”) and a lot of fun.

    Two days later, as we prepared to leave for home, Kate celebrated her 18th birthday at the pub across from our hotel. It’s impossible to believe that she’s 18 already. The time has flown.

    Fortunately, the old reliable van — a last minute replacement when a rental fell through — chugged all the way from Virginia to Chicago and back. We stopped in Cleveland overnight, and I had a chance to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a lifelong goal of mine.

    So now we come to the end of another year and another December. January already is shaping up to be an incredibly busy month. I’m sure it will be an adventure.

    After all, it’s our reality show.

    A collage of photos from our trip...