The Bishop Brothers have all found their happily ever afters, but that doesn’t mean it comes without drama, dirty diapers, scandals, and more! We love these Bishops so much we just couldn’t let them go, so we hope you enjoy these little extra glimpses into their lives!
A VERY BISHOP CHRISTMAS
ROSE, Mama Bishop’s POV
Christmas Eve is always a busy one in the Bishop household. Between decorating, shopping, cooking, baking, and loving on my grandkids, time has flown by this year.
This morning, I woke up to Scott delivering me coffee in bed. Lots of cream and sugar, just how I like it.
“Love you, Rose.” He leans over and gives me a sweet kiss.
“Love you too, honey.” I take a sip of the steaming hot brew and set it on the nightstand.
“Lookin’ beautiful, darlin’,” he says, and I give him an appreciative smile. Even after all these years, he’s still my light, my love, and my best friend. Forty years together and he always takes the time in the morning to tell me how pretty I am, like a true Southern gentleman.
I quickly go through my morning routine, brush my hair back into a low bun, and return to the bedroom where he’s waiting with a smirk.
“What are you up to this morning?” I ask, knowing better.
He shrugs, stands, and gives me another soft kiss, but I’m not easily fooled. Nothing gets past me. I grab my coffee and head down stairs. As soon as my feet hit the bottom step I can smell and hear the bacon sizzling. I walk into the kitchen and see all my boys sitting around the table, except for Jackson who’s busy frying eggs and bacon. I walk over to him and give him a small hug and he leans over and kisses me on his cheek.
“Mornin’, Mama!” he greets.
“Oh honey, what are y’all doin’ here?” I look around the room, smiling. We typically don’t get together until dark for Christmas treats, to sing carols, and tell stories about Santa Claus with the kids, so this is a nice surprise.
“Mama, you know it’s a big day today,” Alex says, standing to set plates on the table. Soon, Mila, River, Emily, and Kiera are tumbling through the door with all my beautiful grandbabies in tow. I give each of my grandchildren kisses and hugs, loving how much they’re growing. Time is flying so fast these days.
I try to help in the kitchen and Evan forces me to sit at the table.
“No, ma’am. Not today. You’re not allowed to do a thing considering you’ll be cooking for hours already.”
I smile. “I could get used to this kinda treatment.”
Just as Jackson dishes out eggs and bacon onto a large platter and while John is removing a pan of biscuits from the oven, I hear the front door swing open and is followed by commotion.
I look around, confused, knowing that everyone is here, until I see my daughter Courtney, her husband Drew and three kids.
I stand, feeling overwhelmed with emotions that all of my kids are here. When I spoke to her earlier in the month, she had mentioned they wouldn’t be able to make it for Christmas this year because of Drew’s work schedule.
Instantly tears roll down my face as I hug my grandbabies that I only get to see on FaceTime. I hate that they live so far away.
“Oh Mama, don’t cry. Merry Christmas,” Courtney tells me, pulling me into a hug.
“I’m just so surprised, that’s all.” I’m barely able to get the words out as I look around the room at my entire family.
Everyone finds a seat at the table and we say grace before digging into our food. The spread is wonderful, as always, cooked exactly how I would’ve prepared it. As soon as we’re done, I stand to try to help clean up and John gently places his hand on my shoulders.
“You’re as stubborn as a mule. You’re not lifting a finger today.”
“Okay, okay. I get it.” I sigh with a grin.
“So, Mama,” Jackson says with a small smile playing on his lips. “We still goin’ to make that donation to the food bank today?”
Kiera’s eyes light up, and I give her a wink. Over the past week we’ve been baking and selling homemade pies to everyone in town to raise money for it. Kiera and I probably baked two hundred pies and three hundred dozen cookies. A few years ago, it became one of my traditions, because the center needs all the help they can get. And my heart can’t handle the fact that someone may be going hungry at any time, especially during the holidays. If I could feed the state of Texas, I would.
“Yes, honey. Kiera and I—”
Evan interrupts me, and I give him a look of disapproval. “We’re all gonna go with you this year. We’ve been doing little things the past few months to help, like putting all of our loose change in a bucket.”
Emily smiles. “We saved almost a thousand dollars.”
My mouth falls open, and I smile that they cared enough to do that.
“We did some savin’ too, Mama,” Jackson says. “Told everyone ten percent of their training fees was goin’ to the food bank this year,” Jackson adds proudly, going to Kiera and stealing a kiss.
“I baked muffins and sold them also,” Courtney adds. “Considering the kids are practically grown, I taught them how to bake your special recipe too.”
My heart is so full. “Y’all amaze me. So proud of you kids. I love you all so much.”
“John and I collected donations at the school and B&B too,” Mila adds.
The room fills with voices, everyone being so sweet and caring and it’s all so much to take in without getting overly emotional.
“We should probably get goin’, Rose. They’re gonna be busy passing out turkeys today for the holiday,” Scott tells me, grabbing my hand and squeezing it.
“You’re right. Thanks y’all. Give me about fifteen minutes and I’ll be ready. Gotta go put my face on,” I say with a laugh as I head toward the stairs.
Before I leave, I turn around and take in the moment, being grateful to have all my kids and grandbabies in one place and feel so blessed. My family is everything to me.
Once I’m upstairs, I change into a dress and put on some light makeup before heading back downstairs.
Mila wraps her arm around my shoulder as we walk outside. “Lookin’ pretty, Mama.”
“You too, dear.” I give her a smile.
Scott gets in the van with Courtney and her family, and gives me a big cheesy grin before closing the door.
“So I’m drivin’. Who’s ridin’ with me?” I ask, twirling my keys.
“No offense, Mama, but you drive like a bat outta hell and I don’t want to shit my pants today,” Jackson tells me with a grin.
I smack him on the arm.
“Language, young man.” I somehow keep a stern face, but as soon as he turns around a grin plays on my lips. My boys have always given me a run for my money, which I’ve considered payback from the good Lord for givin’ my mama the same attitude. They say you’ll always have one that’s just like you, and I had five. I’m actually surprised my hair isn’t snow white from all the almost heart attacks they’ve given me the past three decades.
“I’ll ride with you,” River says. “Alex is pulling the truck around now. Peace and quiet, God, I need some.” She laughs.
“I’ll add you to my prayer list tonight, but just know the good Lord works in mysterious ways.” I give her a wink. “I asked for patience once when Evan was a toddler and found out I was pregnant with twins two weeks later. Needless to say, I didn’t pray for that ever again.”
River laughs along with me, but it’s a true story.
We get in the car and head down the long winding road. The food bank supports the county and since we live in such a rural area, they need as much help as they can get. On the weekends, I often go down there and help them pack food bags for families and eventually recruited several ladies from church to help. It quickly became a monthly tradition. ‘Tea time and bag stuffin’ has been a big hit ever since.
As we’re driving toward the center, I can’t help but think about my own childhood and how much my parents struggled. I think that’s why I’m so passionate about feeding people, because it was things like this that helped mine survive. I smile, grateful for the struggle because it turned me into the woman I am today, and helped me raise kids who are compassionate and caring for those less fortunate. They’d give the shirt off their backs to anyone and as a mother, that’s all I can hope and pray for.
River makes small talk about the kids then asks me questions about the cake walk we’re planning for Valentine’s Day at the church.
“I found a new recipe for Southern Banana Pudding I’d like to try out,” she tells me, and I chuckle.
“You’re honorary Southerner now, baby. I’ll share my recipe with you,” I say, considering River is originally from up north in snow country.
“This one was by Paula Dean. It’s supposedly really good,” she adds.
I glance over at her. “Paula Dean aint’ got nothing on my cookin’ dear. She’s a hack and uses way too much damn mayo and butter.”
River chuckles and smiles knowing how serious I am because of the curse word I threw in there. But seriously, Paula Dean often makes my blood boil. Ain’t no Southern woman using half the ingredients she does. If I can’t find it at the grocery store or spell it, it just ain’t Southern.
“Okay, Mama. I’m sure yours is better anyway,” River adds just as we pull up to the food bank.
The parking lot is full, just as it is around this time of year. They pass out turkeys, cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce, and gravy to those in need so they can have a traditional meal too.
As soon as I walk through the double doors with the Bishop gang behind me, Susan and Penelope, two women who run the food bank, light up.
“Was wondering if you were coming today,” Susan says, coming over and giving me a hug. She’s younger, in her mid-thirties, and has been volunteering here for almost a decade.
“You need some help doin’ anything?” Jackson asks as soon as he busts through the door. Kiera is following behind him along with their three kids in tow
“No, sir. We’ve got plenty of helping hands this morning,” Penelope says.
“Penelope, we’d like to make a donation to the food bank,” I tell her after everyone fills into the room. The space is small, barely big enough for all the Bishops, but we make it work.
“Mama B, that’s not necessary. You already do enough for us.”
I hold up my finger. I’m old enough to be her mother too. “Now, now, you never pass up a blessing. Instead, you accept it and say thank you,” I tell her with a grin, but I mean it.
We walk into the main room where they’re passing out bags of food and follow Penelope to her office. I pull my checkbook out of my purse and fill it in then hand it over to her.
She looks down at it then back up at me with wide eyes. “Three thousand dollars!” She gasps. “Is that correct?”
I nod. “Kiera and I sold tons of cookies and pies this year.” I give her a wink. “But that’s not all.”
One by one, each of my kids walk in and give their donations as well and I smile like a proud mama, because I am.
Penelope is overwhelmed with emotion and begins to cry, which causes tears to well in my eyes too. She makes sure to give every single person a hug and a thank you, even the kids.
“Thank you all. This is too much. We’ve never had a donation this large right before Christmas,” Penelope tells us, looking back at the checks. “This totals almost ten thousand dollars.”
“We hope it does some good,” Scott says, placing his hand in mine. I lean over and kiss him on his cheek. I look around and wipe the tears that escaped and grin.
“Love you,” John says to me, patting me on my shoulder. I place my hand on his. “Love you too, son.”
“I’m gonna drive ya, Mama,” John adds. I hand him the keys knowing it’s probably for the best considering my emotional state of happiness right now. As we’re heading back to our cars, everyone is chatting and laughing.
“Hold up, y’all,” I say, having to whistle to be heard over the noise. All eyes are on me as the chatter quickly dies.
“Just wanna say how proud I am of you all for doing this. It means a lot to me.”
“We know, Mama,” Alex chimes in. “It’s important to us too. You’re our role model.”
“Now you’re just sucking up,” Jackson whispers, and I shoot daggers at him.
“Just kidding. You are,” Jackson says.
“Time to go,” John reminds everyone. River goes to ride with Alex and Scott hops in the Cadillac with me and John.
I’m pretty sure the smile is permanently plastered on my face because it stays the entire drive home. As soon as we walk in the house, I glance over at the ten-foot Christmas tree and all the presents underneath for the grandbabies. I might’ve gone a little overboard for Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday.
The boys stay outside chatting and the girls follow me in the kitchen as I start preparing food for our feast tomorrow.
“So, Mila…” I turn and look at her with an innocent look.
“No, Mama. No more kids right now.” She smirks when she knows she read my mind.
I place my hand on my hip. “You need to catch up. Falling behind.”
Courtney bursts out into laughter and shrugs. “You’re not getting out of this one, Mila. Sorry.”
“What about Emily and River? They could use more kids,” Mila protests.
I turn around and look at all of them pointing my spatula at them. “You all could.”
Considering I was an only child, I wished for a large family so I could fill my house with love, especially during the holidays. As I whip the potatoes in a bowl, Courtney pulls out all the old photographs of them when they were little, many pictures even I forgot about.
“This is Jackson and John sitting on Tony the Pony,” Courtney explains.
“Oh my goodness.” Kiera moves closer, they look just like Kane and Knox.
“For sanity sake, I hope they don’t act like them,” I tease, knowing better. They’re a spitting image of Jackson. Double trouble.
After the food is prepped and ready for tomorrow, Emily and River throw together a quick lunch and I place some cookies in the oven for later. It’s a Bishop tradition to leave a tray of cookies and milk out of Santa.
The afternoon quickly transforms into night, and Evan lights a fire in the fireplace while we squeeze into the living room. Scott pulls out an old book with A Night Before Christmas in it and reads it to the kids. All my grandbabies are on the floor with their legs crossed, listening to the story, as they eat cookies and drink milk.
I look around, making eye contact and smiling at each of them, and my heart is filled full of joy and happiness. Once the kids start yawning, we say our goodbyes, and I can’t help but feel thankful that this is my life.
“Santa is on his way, so y’all be good and go straight to sleep,” I tell each of the kids, even the older ones who probably don’t believe anymore. “And the more you believe, the more you receive,” I tell the triplets who are staying in the guest room as they kiss me goodnight before heading upstairs.
Though it’s only nine, I’m exhausted from everything that happened today.
After everyone except Courtney’s family leaves, Scott goes to the kitchen and comes back to the living room with two cups of eggnog. I take a sip and smile as he sits next to me with his arm wrapped around me, holding me.
“You added rum.” I smirk.
He lifts an eyebrow and grin. “Bishop tradition, sweetheart.”
We sit and watch the fire for a while as the Christmas tree lights twinkle in the background. I’m thankful for my kids and husband and sweet little grandbabies. When Scott and I first met, I knew I’d be a Bishop. We’ve got a beautiful family and life and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted.
We eventually make our way upstairs and into bed. Scott leans over and kisses me before turning off the side lamp.
“Love you, Rose.”
“Love you too, Scott. Merry Christmas,” I say, kissing him again.
“Merry Christmas, sweetheart.”