So it’s the day before Christmas, and Nikki and Mark have been here a week (tonight).  I think they’ve settled in well, especially considering how different our rules and culture are from theirs.

We’re still wrestling with the food: last night, I made a ham, a side of beets, side of green beans, and side of cauliflower.  (Not just plain, but each with some sort of seasoning/roasting/ dressing, etc.  I don’t even like cauliflower, and I thought it was pretty good.)  To his credit, Mark tried a teeny bit of each side dish – sort of licking it- but he couldn’t manage to actually eat any of it.  Nikki flat out refused it all.  She tried to eat the salad, but didn’t want any dressing – see what I mean?  Their food refusals don’t make any sense.  Anyway, she didn’t get a second serving of the ham, and left the table in tears.  Not big dramatic tears, but quiet ones that I had to run after her to notice.  She told me she missed her mama, so I held her for a few minutes, and then we called her mom.

They’ve talked with her at least once a day since Monday, and the calls are very good.  The kids are happy and Mom seems happy (with mixed-in sadness at missing them.)  Mom thanked me a bunch for taking care of her kids and she told me she was so glad I was nice.  She seems capable enough of getting clean and working her plan.  She told me all about how normal their lives were, and I believe her, until a few years ago, she and their dad sort of slid into drugs.  But Mom’s been clean for a few months, so she’s got a good start.  There aren’t many other options available for Mark and Nikki; I hope she can make it.

Their relatives gave Marge two big bags of Christmas presents for the kids – great!! That helps a lot.  I’m cynical enough though that I’m unwrapping each one to check for appropriateness and smoke smells (the clothes she brought smelled like smoke, and so far, I’ll be setting aside one way-too realistic looking machine gun until Mark goes back.)  And then rewrapping it, of course.

So it seems like we’ll have a plentiful, and snowy, Christmas.  Praise God!

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