It could have been total out right chaos! Instead, due to the fact that we have remarkable children (including the one who is still single without a child) who always knew exactly what to do instinctively. These young girls had so much love for one another and they are not physically with each other often due to where they live.
Thanks to technology and parents who share pictures, FaceTime and videochat, not only with us, but with their children, all felt an immediate ease of being around each other from the get go. There were smiles and hugging and sharing of toys...it melted out hearts.
This can't be "taught" at this age except through receiving love and tenderness at home. Children feel how they are treated and emulate this with others. When they feel calmness and peace around them, it gives them a feeling of security and calmness.
Now, will I say that there was never any crying? Heavens, no! Go back up and read the ages that I am talking about. When tears came, there was a reason, such as tired and ready for a nap or perhaps food was in the process of being prepared and they needed a munchie to hold them over. Sometimes just attention. Needless to say when one started crying one or two others felt the need to chime in.
Not once did a voice have to be raised, nor should it ever. This normally quiet household with two grandparents and a goldendoodle watched in amazement and helped when we could. Luckily, all four girls loved the big puppy and he loved them as well. The fact that he is a 65 pound puppy meant that he had to be kept under control, as to not accidentally knock over a child in his love and excitement. (Except for the five year old... She could tell him what to do and believe me, she did.) If we had her around him everyday, he would not have had to be held around any of the girls. He will get there as he matures.
The other amazing thing about our children is how they pitched in and not only helped each other but helped out the two of us. With both of us getting our strength back from health issues, there was no way that we could cook for everyone. They all came together to cook and to clean. We had the joy of being with the children nearby while they did the preparation, cooking and cleaning.
One more thing that I have not shared yet...two days before Christmas Eve, our refrigerator died. ALL of the food in the freezer and fridge had to be thrown out. Let me add that we had shopped already for everything that we would be needing.
It was painful to toss out so much food, yet there was no way that I was going to take any chance of food poisoning. We had another refrigerator for drinks out in the garage. Luckily, this is where we stored the ham and turkey. There just was no room to make certain family recipes in advance and then refrigerate them. We managed with a chest freezer and a bit of creativity with a whole lot of teamwork.
I shared with everyone that I had a list of restaurants that were open on Christmas Day if we wanted to get out and go. These precious children said that they would be happy with grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Thankfully, we did not have to go to those extremes, but just knowing this was the thought process of these precious children of ours.
Two very proud parents were most definitely given a very memorable Christmas that had nothing to do with materialistic presents.