Thursday, December 29, 2011

And so it was Christmas

Christmas Eve I was at work before the sun came up. Of course, I am always at work before the sun comes up. My boss was drinking a Coke in a classic glass bottle, and you know, that's pretty special since you don't see it very often.
"It is Mexican Coke." she says. "It's made with-"
"Real sugar. I know, it was my Dad's favorite."
And so after that I had to go sit in the bathroom and ball my eyes out at pretty much thirty minute intervals till I finished baking all the Cookies and Christmas Bread. Don't get me wrong, I still like Christmas. But when Elvis sang "Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree/ won't be the same Dear, if you're not here with me," it meant something different this year...
Then I walked home, in the not quite cold air, and it didn't really feel like Christmas at all. I got myself together and decided not to cry anymore, because it would just bum everybody out and I didn't want to do that to them on Christmas, you know?

The first thing Husband said to me when I walked in, as cheerful as always, was "So how was work, baby?" Of course I just threw myself into his arms and sobbed something about Mexican Coke, and he just held me like he's so good at doing. No heavy sigh emanating from his lips to let me know how unfortunate it was that I was ruining Christmas, just that strong hug and the familiar "I know, baby." Because he does, he knows about the unopened bottles of Coke in my parent's basement that my Dad was saving, and he knows how much I miss my Dad. And then I just had to sob even harder, because it hit me real hard how it might be to go on living without him, and that my Mom was living in a world like that. This great bleak panorama of all the women in my family history outliving their husbands played out behind my watery eyes, and it was humbling and terrifying all at the same time.
A girl can only cry for so long, and trust me, I've been crying semi-professionally for my entire life. When the tears were about dry I ran upstairs to hop in the shower and get ready for the big Christmas Eve Dinner at my Mother-In-Law's house. There was something really healing about the quality of light in my giant southern-facing bathroom. I don't get to take a shower at noon very often, but the sun shines full into my bathroom through layers of sheer curtains and the draping pothos vines and citrus trees I have in front of the windows. The combination of that soft, bright natural light with the steamy shower helped me rinse all my tears and worries down the drain. The nap I took after that helped a lot too. By gosh and golly, at 3 PM we were all ready to go down to Clarksburg and have some good Christmas fun with Keith's family. My Mom went to Seester's house this year, so we didn't get together at Sun Valley. Which might have been just as well, me being an unstable snot/tear factory and all...

Dinner at Grandma Virginia's house was Absolutely Lovely. Constance baked a wonderful turkey and scalloped potatoes, and macaroni and cheese, and stuffing. There were also deviled eggs made by Grandma Virginia - and instead of being sliced long ways they were sliced the other way and they were super cute and delicious and I think Delia ate half a dozen of them. I whipped up some gravy when I got there, FROM SCRATCH, with a can of beef broth that Grandma had under the cupboard. There was not a speck of green vegetable in the house, much to Delia's delight.
After dinner, and after Grandma's Galettes, we opened presents, and everyone was delighted. Constance gave us, among other lovely things, a real boss coffee maker that has a water filter and timer and a couple of other bells and whistles that are sweet. The girls all got cute PJs and sweaters and makeup and perfume and were happy as clams. I kind of felt bad that I didn't get presents knitted for Becca and Schyler, but they can place requests and I will make them something in the future.

Of course I didn't take enough pictures in North View, in fact, the only one I got at Grandma Virginia's house was this one of my niece Kaitlynn in the present I made her! The hat is Leethal's Short-rows Wavy Hat and the scarf is Karen Baumer's Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf. Both are knit in Bernat Mosaic, Psychedelic colorway, a 100% acrylic self striping yarn that I picked up at AC Moore in Bridgeport. Both were knit on size 8 Clover Bamboo needles.
She is just the cutest thing.

After Ryan and Deb and the girls took off in their sleigh to go visit Deb's fam, Keith and Delia and I wandered next door to Grandpa Carson's house.

My sweet girl in front of Grandpa's Christmas Tree.

They say Christmas is for the children (well, at least Barry Manilow says it!) and you know, Madyson was the star of the party at this house. She had plenty of packages to open - but she got a little sidetracked after the first one, which was a shopping cart. She pushed that little thing all over the house and wouldn't sit down to open another thing! During this time Delia decided that she was going to buy herself a viola with her Christmas money. My girl has priorities.

Grandpa Carson and Cathy got this awesome slide for Maddy, and she LOVED IT! I think she slid down it a hundred times.

Grandpa helped her climb, and Uncle Keith caught her.

It was super fun. I must have taken 30 pictures, but most of them were of a blurry Maddy in mid slide. Blurry is in this Christmas I hear.

Keith, Delia and I made it back to Edgehill House before midnight this year! Once my sugarplum was tucked into her bed, the Elves got to work Elving, and we had a nice quiet little time waiting up for Santa with The Twelve Beers Of Christmas, courtesy of Keith's bosses.

Christmas morning came early, Delia woke us at 7:30 and we enjoyed coffee from our new coffee pot and bacon & eggs while we opened gifts. I am ever so thankful to have this little family.


Prisoner of the Universe #2-16 said...

Yes, Christmas is for families. We are so blessed to have them in our lives. Because nothing will ever be the same as it was, we will keep pushing forward - one foot in front of the other - crying every-so-often, when the memories are triggered by little things.
Grandpa Clem outlived his wife Amanda Olive, but he had his daughter, Louise, nearby to see him into his 90's in his own home; Uncle Ed has his girls close; but mostly our parents knew that the girls would have to be strong and learn to take care of themselves. We'll keep on, and we'll pass along what we've realized. Keep writing. It's been my experience that daughters do not forget the little things their fathers taught them and daughters never stop missing Dad (and in my case, they never stop missing Mom, either.)

Happy New Year, Daughter.
Love, Mom

Trisha said...

In the whirl that has been the last week, I haven't been reading much on the ol Internet.... Reading this this morning, the new day, new year... Makes me know that we are all in this together... No matter how far apart we are, We are all red-nosed snot factories. I also think that by writing it down... Well, It helps.

You always seem to see the same things that I feel from a different view. A different perspective. I never would have thought about our long-living ness as strong willed women... :). I love you sister.