I feel like the few days leading up to Christmas are sad. Saaaaad. Maybe this is just a post-injury deal. Or maybe I've always been nostalgic and reminiscent during the Christmas home stretch.
Seriously though, the music from movies like Home Alone and The Polar Express don't help. Am I right? Even the attic projector scene from Christmas Vacation. I mean...
This year, I'm bracing myself for being without the family I'm normally with. That includes my parents, brothers, sisters, uncle, aunt and cousins. This will also be the first Christmas -- ever -- without my Papa who passed in July. It still hasn't felt real that he is gone. Probably because I don't live near him. But if it's ever going to feel real, Christmas is the time.
Christmas just bleeds family and tradition. I made only a few kinds of cookies but they are the kinds Papa would have us grandkids sneak for him once at a time on Christmas Eve and after Christmas morning breakfast. The memories are still so palpable. He was here last year. At the table. Just like he always was. He was just fine. Eating cookies.
Just by looking at these cookies as they come out of the oven... there's both heartbreak and comfort happening there.
Still, while there's sadness, there's also Spencer. There's new life in our house. There's a new stocking hanging from the mantle. There's Christmas jammies with footies. There's talk of Santa (and how next year he'll really have to have his act together). There are new noises in our house. Not just the constant sound of the ventilator or the sound of Frasier re-runs. There's legitimate baby noises to remind us to keep going.
There's the opportunity for a cheek-to-cheek or forehead kisses. That's a comfort I never could have imagined. I inhale it.
I usually have to work hard to make holidays - specifically Christmas - feel different and joyful for me and Jimmy. My fear has been that with our routine, with Jimmy's routine, it will feel like just another day. Much of the same. And it can't. It just cannot.
Christmas cannot feel like another day.
This is a familiar fear from our first Christmas, post injury, which came just a few months after the accident in 2011. We couldn't get back home and I was missing that comfort so bad.
The comfort of my mother's beautifully decorated tree and my dad's Christmas lights. Laughing with my family. Overeating and really maybe trying to get to midnight mass. The Neil Diamond Christmas CD. The platters of cookies and treats. The smell of homemade Italian food on Christmas Eve. The cold Christmas air that really hits it home. I cherish it all and will hold it in my heart until I can revel in it next year, hopefully.
For the years go by quickly.
I'm sure I'll always hold in my heart this quiet first Christmas at home with our Spencer. We get her all to ourselves. Christmas morning, I'll wake-up with this sweetheart of a little girl and a hot cup of coffee (made special with whip cream and cinnamon because it's not just another day) and we'll go wake up Dad. We'll tell him to hurry so we can do whatever Christmas stuff we want.
I'm making us a big dinner tomorrow, but Christmas day might be the opportunity for a new tradition like Chinese take-out or some really good cheese pizza. Momma be tired.
It's gonna be a good couple of days, I think.
Alright. Enough of this gooey shhhh...show of emotion. (Home Alone 2, anyone?)
Merry Christmas, everyone.
From our family of three.. to yours.