Everyone told us the “firsts” were the hardest. I disagree… I was still somewhat numb and in an emotional fog for the “firsts”. Now I am fully feeling it all and well its harder in someways. And in others, well easier is not the right word, I guess I am just more prepared for things.
Christmas is just a few days away. Last year we did our absolute best to skip it. We had a tiny tree and did the gifts but only because the kids needed us to do that much. This year I am torn. I want to pull out the big tree and the ornaments we have collected over the years and touch the memories. I want to look and hang the ornaments the kids made over the years. I want to remember the Christmas of the past. I want to laugh at the memories through the tears I know will come. I want to let the memories inspire me but at the same time I am terrified they may also drowned me. (I pretend to be a lot stronger than I am sometimes but if I pretend long enough maybe even I will believe it right?)
I want to remember Bob ( my daughter, we call her Bob yes its a nickname) screaming “Barbie Clothes” when she was 5 because she was so excited and scaring the crap out of all of us. And David mastering Mortal Combat on Super Nintendo. And Micheal grabbing Bob’s new cell phone and running into the bathroom with it and taking a picture of his butt with it. I want to remember Tony being more excited and happy about what everyone else was getting than his own gifts. I want to remember how Stockings were Micheal’s favorite part of Christmas so we put potted meat in his one year. He hated potted meat and called it cat food. The look on his face was priceless. I want to remember all the time I spent making cookies and candy with the kids and how they always ate more frosting than they put on the sugar cookies.
Micheal’s last Christmas was in Iraq. He and his buddy celebrated by wearing Santa hats and Christmas stocking (not much else) and running through the barracks blessing people with candy canes. I have to laugh when I watch that video. He was such a happy person and his joy in the moment just shines through.
Christmas holds so many joyous memories.. I need to embrace them. My whole family needs to embrace them and we need to make more. But it won’t be without sadness too. There will be an empty stocking hung. I just can’t not hang Pokey’s stocking. But the house will be filled with memories and love. And on that foundation we will build new memories.