Sunday, December 04, 2005

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Dear Rach,

Only 3 weeks 'til Christmas. This would have been my 20th Christmas with you.

December has always been my favorite time of year. Amy's birthday on the 10th and mine on the 13th. Yet the biggest thrill has always been the excitement of our girls coming home. Christmas was especially meaningful to me and your dad since it was one of the two annual visits you were able to make to Nebraska.

By now the Christmas cards would be addressed and stamped, waiting for the final editing of the letter and selection of the Christmas photo. I'd turn into a nagging wife, reminding Rod that the outdoor lights still weren't up and it wasn't going to get any warmer. I'd have bags and bags of gifts (since at least July) stashed in the guest room, ready to be wrapped and shipped or put under the tree. Remember the year I color-coded the gifts for you, Amy and Rod? I picked out a different wrap for each of you and left all the tags off. You and Amy didn't know what to think! How in the world were you supposed to guess what was under the tree for you? ;)

We're not sending any cards this year. How could we possibly choose a picture? Every year we've used one of you and Amy (and more recently, you, Amy and Shaylyn), usually taken during your summer visit. I can't imagine what I'd pick this year that wouldn't bring sadness to those on our mailing list. Amy without her big sister? Shaylyn without her mommy? A picture of you taken at your college graduation (never in a million years could I have guessed that those would be the very last pictures I'd ever take of you). No. I don't want to even try to find a suitable picture, let alone a card with an appropriate sentiment for a grieving family.

Several months ago I was prepared to skip the whole Christmas season. No cards, decorations, baking, and only minimal gift-giving. Yet complete denial of the season can't be healthy. It's obvious it won't ever be the same, but we can try to get through this one with the least amount of pain and work toward creating new traditions in the coming years. I am so glad Amy will be here and I look forward to future visits from Shaylyn as well.

So the tree goes up tomorrow. One of my best friends is coming over to help decorate, share a bottle of wine, and keep us from getting too sad. Miss Maddie came over yesterday and helped bake chocolate chip cookies for Uncle Rod (not exactly Christmas cookies, but I was out-voted). With the cookies in the oven, we starting in on some decorating. We had such fun! Nothing like a 3-year-old to help get one in the spirit of the season. I honestly can't remember the last time I had such a nice Saturday.

We received our first invitation to a Christmas party and have decided to go. I plan to start wrapping presents this afternoon and will get going on a mental list of Amy's favorite meals. And who knows, if it warm up enough to melt the snow and ice maybe your daddy will get those lights up after all. This is Nebraska, you know. We could jump from the current temp of 7 to 60 by lunch time.

I believe this is the right thing to do. Ignoring the holiday would be too depressing (not to mention a little difficult when everyone else is in a festive mood). It'll still be very, very sad, but we'll do the best we can.

You would've wanted it this way. It was your favorite time of year, too.




Blogger Mom said...

Isn't it wonderful to be able to see pictures of Rachel so happy with her beautiful daughter? Something to hold on to.

5:06 PM  

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