I hope everyone had a safe and joyous Christmas with friends and family.

Now that our kids are grown and out of the house, Kathy and I are still adapting to life as empty nesters. We would have liked to have the entire family home for Christmas, but that just wasn’t possible this year.

While there are a lot of Christmas morning memories from when the kids were younger, I have to admit that it was nice sleeping in on Christmas morning. I have boxes filled with somewhat blurry photos taken right after Zakk, Emily and Alex woke me well before the sun came up to open their presents. While the extra sleep was great, I do miss those special moments with our children.

This year we transitioned to those special moments with our granddaughter.

Nearly 2, McKynslee is just beginning to appreciate the joy and wonder of Christmas.

I love being her PopPop. She is like her mom in so many ways and she’s already figured out how to wrap me around her tiny little finger.

She knows that when she comes over to visit, PopPop always has a bag of Gummy Bears just for her — which hasn’t always gone over too well with her mom. Emily and I finally reached an accord that it was OK, as long as I only gave McKynslee one Gummy Bear. (For the record, Emily must have forgotten all the times I let her have treats, but that’s another story).

So, this Christmas, there was a special package under the tree for McKynslee.

You should have seen the look on Emily’s face when McKynslee unwrapped her 5-pound Gummy Bear.

“Da-a-a-a-a-a-d!” Emily shouted, as my granddaughter began opening the box to get to the nearly foot-tall treat.

“What?” I answered. “I only gave her one Gummy Bear. Just like you asked.”

Then I was relegated to the kitchen to start washing dishes.

I didn’t mind, though.

I’m starting to get the hang of being a grandpa.

And, I’ve already started the planning for next year’s gift, although it’s going to be hard to top a 5-pound Gummy Bear.

While I couldn’t wait for McKynslee to open her gift on Christmas, we tabled most of our Christmas celebration until this weekend when Zakk and his fiancée Jacqueline arrive from Houston — and our entire family will be together. Alex arrived late Tuesday night from Lubbock and Emily and Deke live across town.

Though it will be a few days late, I am looking forward to having all the kids together under one roof again — even if it is just for a few days.

That’s what I really wanted for Christmas.

From our family to yours, I pray the blessings and joy of the Christmas season reside within us throughout the coming year.

God bless.