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This will be our first Christmas without my mom. For those of you who don’t already know, my mother passed away in the beginning of January, 2009, only having spent seven months with the Little Bug, which they both enjoyed immensely.
I have nothing but great memories of Christmas growing up. We had our own set of traditions as well as the usual suspects. My folks did the Santa thing, we alternated between turkey and ham for dinner, and I always got to open one present of my choosing on Christmas Eve (which often left me absolutely paralyzed in deciding which one to go for!) My mom would often give one a meaningful look as if to say: “That one there–that’s the one you want”. And she was always right.
I remember hearing everything from Dean Martin and Nat King Cole to Hawaiian Christmas songs this time of year, and while it was often just myself, mom and dad, the Holidays always felt busy and festive and full of life.
After I had moved out of the house, some things changed, but I could always count on the tree being up, the music playing, and of course, opening that one gift on Christmas Eve. My father and I would drink embarrassing amounts of single malt scotch while cooking and talking about cars, politics–whatever crossed our minds, while mom had a chance to relax and just watch us two banter.
My point is, with the three of us, it always managed to feel like a full house. We had a comfortable, casual Christmas that always left me full and sleepy with a bag full of leftovers and a mild hangover, and we all loved it immensely. This year, it will, for the first time, just be my dad, me and the Bug. Sure, we’ll have friends stopping by and calls to the family and whatnot, but at the end of the night, it’ll just be us. We haven’t had the easiest of times, me and my old man. Thanksgiving was tough without mom, and I think both of us are wondering what to expect from the rest of the Holiday season.
We already discussed the fact that I think we’re going to leave the tree and all the ornaments in the boxes this year. They are exactly as my mother left them, all in their places. Some of those ornaments are older than I am, some acquired along the way. Some signifying events in our lives, and some even with the names of ex girlfriends added with the eternal hope that I would marry them and start a family of my own. Dad and I just can’t bear the thought of undoing one of her last chores just yet. The Bug is nearing 18 months old, and probably won’t remember this Christmas, even if my dad and I will, so we’re OK with being treeless this year.
One thing’s for sure though. There will be plenty of presents for the little one, a few for me and dad, and mom will be present this year, in one form or another. So I’ll sip scotch with my pops, maybe give the Bug a nudge towards the one I think he should open on the Eve. I’ll close my eyes, smiling while listening intently for mom’s suggestion on which one I should go for as well.