We had Christmas again, without you. Not by choice mind you, it just has to be that way now. We all miss you and wish you were here with us. We miss your laugh and your way of telling stories. We miss your body in the kitchen with your brother preparing the meal and at the table with all the relatives. We miss you singing Grateful Dead songs, discussing current events and kissing us on top of our heads.
I missed the sudden shock on your face when you realized that Christmas was tomorrow and we needed to go out and get stuff. One year we drove out east to buy a surfboard for a kid. He wouldn’t need it for a few months but on Christmas Eve you decided that since he learned how to surf in California that past summer, it was a new sport he may want to engage in. He loved that surfboard and it looked so awesome by the tree that Christmas morning.
Your tradition of taking me out on Christmas Eve began after a few too many kitchen appliances and such. We decided a day out shopping and having lunch would guarantee a happy wife. I wanted a new coat and you opted to get me a new Mac Book one year. That was fun. Lunch at the mall always followed, then dressing for church and out to dinner on Christmas Eve.
We kept the tradition of church and dinner on Christmas Eve this year. Just the 3 of us. Tables in restaurants can be so cruel as there is always one seat that isn’t filled.
I couldn’t stay up to watch St. Patrick’s live midnight mass in New York City on T.V. like we always did. The boys and I agreed on a movie we could all enjoy and so that is what we did.
I made the kids Mario’s Eggs – a slightly modified version, on Christmas morning. The recipe is from your mom’s friend and 2 of us loved it. The other kid not so much.
We had a full house for Christmas. Twelve people around the table. The food was awesome. Peirogies, kielbasi and shrimp cocktail for appetizers. Eggplant and Lasagna. Then a few funny games.
I know you wouldn’t usually play games, but these were fun. One we had to use oven mitts to open presents. It was tricky but people got into it. Even your mom gave it a good effort. If you got it open you could keep the prize. Lotto Tickets!
Next was drawing a picture on a paper plate that is on top of your head. It is a Christmas scene and you get points for certain things like if the stocking touches the mantle or the star is above the tree. A prize is awarded for the most points.
Then it was the ever engaging game of LRC, Left Right Center. Everyone used dollars and the competition for the big pot of money goes around the group until the last person wins. Even the boys liked this game!
After the dishes were washed we started the main course which was your brother’s Prime Rib and mashed potatoes the way my dad used to make them. Simple and delicious. We had a few veggies and gravy and the meat was delish.
We opened presents. Your mom gave me Lenox and I gave her Lenox too! Always such a pretty and classic gift. Lots of soft, furry items were exchanged to keep us all warm during these cold winter months. We got lots of candy which you would have loved! Good stuff.
Finally it was time for dessert and coffee.
Your mom and I looked at pictures of Matt and me in Italy last spring. He is beginning to look a lot like you. She commented that she sees you in him more now that she used to. I agree.
The boys are doing well. Both are looking to do some traveling this year. I hopefully will too.
I met someone special this year who makes me smile. He came to Christmas dinner and met your family. I think it was difficult at times but people are happy for me and he is good to me.
I miss you lots but am learning how to move forward with the strength that your love gave me. I will always love you.