Author Robin Patchen
Nothing says Christmas like…Crab Rangoons?
“Chinese food…seriously? On Christmas Eve?”
That was my reaction the first Christmas I spent with my soon-to-be husband, Eddie. He confirmed—Chinese food on Christmas Eve was his family’s tradition. Not only that, but right after I arrived, he and his cousin Tim left to pick up our dinner from the restaurant about a mile away. I could have picked it up, but apparently, the young men picking up the food was also a tradition. When they returned—an hour later, explaining the food hadn’t been quite done when they’d arrived—my fiancé smelled of soy sauce and Mai Tais. As the years went by and the trip to the Chinese restaurant lengthened, I realized that the restaurant owners were happily keeping the food under the heat lamps until the men had finished their drinks.
Another family tradition, apparently.
My family had few such traditions. Because we lived in New Hampshire, a thousand-plus miles from my parents’ families in Oklahoma and Louisiana, our Christmas Eves were a little different every year. Some years, we’d get together with friends. Some years we’d go to church. By the time I was engaged to Eddie, we had for a few years gone to a party at some friends’ of my mother’s with others who had no family close by. The same thing a few years in a row—that felt like a real tradition. It seemed normal to me, until I met Eddie.
Many of the Patchen family traditions had held on since his parents were newly married, including the darned sock they gifted each other every Christmas, a humorous reminder of their first Christmas together, when my mother-in-law, a new bride, had darned her husband’s socks—and he refused to wear them.
It’s those traditions that weave together the fabric of our families. Even when they’re strange to outsiders, like Chinese food and darned socks, they make us who we are. So when I married into the Patchen family, I was honored to join in their family traditions.
We’ve even kept the Christmas Eve tradition of Chinese food—sans the Mai Tais, these days. Can somebody pass the crab rangoons?
Movie star Blake Carmichael found more than just freedom from his drug addiction in rehab. He found God. And he has just one wish for the first Christmas of his new life: reconciliation with his teenage son, Eli. But after eight years of hardly hearing from Blake, Eli wants nothing to do with his father. So when his mother forces Eli to stay with Blake during the Christmas holidays, Eli sneaks out of the house.
From the New Hampshire seacoast to the dangerous streets of Boston, Blake searches for his son, desperate to protect Eli from sins Blake knows all too well. But even if he finds his son, will he ever be able to convince Eli of his love?
If time and money were no object, I would travel constantly. My goal is to visit every place in the entire world--twice. Because, as you know, the first time, you don't know exactly what you want to see. So you flit from one tourist attraction to another and enjoy every minute of it. But it's always on the last day that you find the best thing, and you don't have enough time to explore it properly, and you wished you'd discovered it first (but even if you had, you wouldn't know it was the best thing, because you hadn't seen everything else yet). So you have to go back a second time. It's just logical.
Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and my family doesn't really want to follow me all around the world, so I do the next best thing: I write. In the worlds I create, I can go back to the best places time and again. And when they're not perfect, that's all right--I just edit until they are.
In the real world, I'm married to the man of my dreams, Edward, and together we have three children, Nicholas, Lexi, and Jacob. They are a close second on my list of priorities after my relationship with my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
So that's my life: God, husband, children, and made-up worlds where I have complete control. Who could ask for more?