christmas this year was different. obviously. dad loved christmas so much and it was weird not having him around. we definitely kept ourselves busy which did not totally mask our pain, but it did help.
on december 23rd we did our traditional christmas lights tour of the bangor/brewer area. this year it was different…we added mom, jude, and bella and we subtracted my grandparents. we also preceded the tour with a trip to the mall to visit santa. it was seriously the funniest experience ever. the picture says it all.
bella cried instantly. she wasn’t just crying…she was totally losing it. jude was fine at first…until he saw bella freaking. you can see by the look on his face that the fear slowly progressed, as well as the nose picking, until he too started crying and his finger had totally disappeared. the whole scene was hilarious and heart breaking all at the same time.
christmas eve day began with breakfast at geaghan’s. this was a new thing and we know dad would have loved it. there was about fifteen of us. it was loud and fun. later on in the day we had a gathering at my mom’s house. family came over to eat dessert, open presents, and chill. we even had a visit from santa!
that night was church. it was a great service despite the fact that it was a “family” atmosphere which meant that there was no nursery. enough said. jude made it through the singing quite well. the sermon he was not a fan of. so i ended up in the back, with all the other parents of toddlers, and missed most of the message. oh well.
being at church made me miss my dad. he loved our church. he loved to sing old hymns on christmas eve. anyone who knew him well can remember, and will probably never forget, his booming voice. not having him next to me or hearing him belt out every word was really crappy.
after church we came back to our house. me, brian, jude, megan, nick, bella, and mom all spent the night. we didn’t want to be apart. being together always helps the hurt. we had a cozy evening at home. we read to the kids, put them to bed, and ate dinner while brian put together jude’s train table and nick assembled bella’s dollhouse.
we stayed up late that night. we talked and reminisced about dad. we shared how much we missed him and how life will never be the same. but no matter how much we hated dad not being there, we were thankful for one another. that went without saying. we went to bed and i cried a lot. nights are the worst for me. brian always just holds me and lets me get it all out. sometimes he cries too. i’m sure there will always be nights like that.
christmas morning came. all the adults got up early. i was so excited for jude to see his train table! it felt like i was a little kid again, but this time the roles were reversed. we drank coffee and set up the gifts. everything and everyone was ready. the perfect finishing touch was when our video camera decided to stop working. awesome. we were able to use our regular camera to get a short video of jude’s reaction.
jude loved his train table so much…it made me very happy. almost every morning when he wakes up he looks toward the living room and says “train table?” its so cute. (i think he’s freaking out in the picture below because we made him stop playing in order to get a good family shot.)
we soon went to brian’s parents house. it was such a good time. we ate breakfast and opened presents with larry, sarah, grandma, kate, and peter. we love spending christmas morning there. its a fun and crazy time that we love so much.
next, we went to mom’s house. we ate lunch and opened presents while jude and bella napped. it was way more relaxing with the little buggers asleep. grammy and grampy came, as usual, so it felt a little bit like christmas’ past.
aunt and her family came over that night and we all ate fondue and had a sleepover. it was fun…but i felt sad that night. it was a great christmas, but it just wasn’t the same. as thankful as i was for all the amazing blessings i was aware of that day, i couldn’t get past my dad not being there. i cried a lot that night too. but a good friend of my dad’s said something that comforted me a lot. he said, “it may the worst christmas you’ve ever had, but it’ll be the best your dad has ever had.” in the midst of my grief i had never thought of that. it totally made sense and i was thankful for that.
christmas was good and bad. i’m thankful for the good.