It's late on Christmas night. All are sleeping. I'm thinking of Christmases past.
Wrapping presents with my mom.
Coming home to my dad's after Christmas Eve at with my mom's family, my dad has midnight mass on the television, and my brother and I convince my dad to open presents before Christmas morning.
The cat playing inside the tree and having it come crashing down.
My brother and I finding the hiding spot in the front closet for all the presents.
Avoiding my drunk uncle on Christmas eve.
Faint memories of a Santa showing up for a visit at grandma's apartment.
My aunt's beautiful joy filled smile, hugging me and always calling me honey.
My cousins matching Christmas sweaters.
My brother sick on the couch on Christmas eve.
My dad's side of the family filling up the twenty foot table set up in the basement.
My uncle teasing my dad as he walks in the door.
My grandma taking the turkey out of the oven in the basement, because the oven upstairs is full.
The candy dish full of ribbon and pillow shaped candies.
My brother calling at the last minute to say he's in Vegas instead.
Road trip to Fond du Lac.
Watching Owen share stockings with the cousins.
Grandma's Christmas crowns and crackers.
The ice storm brings everyone to us.
The last Christmas with Grandma before Arizona.
Another Christmas without my brother.
Another Christmas without my dad.
Another Christmas without my mom.
Complaints about gifts.
No phone calls.
My new Christmas.
Each Christmas brings back old memories, old expectations, old disappointments, old joys.
Each Christmas brings new memories, new expectations, new disappointments, new joys.
My struggle is to put all of these together, make sense of them all. To be grateful for all of it. For the old to stay in the past, to realize that is where I came from. Not where I am today.
To make the new Christmas memories matter just as much as the past. Know that the people I celebrate with today are my family, to not feel apart from or different. To be myself and enjoy the here and now.
Here's to trying!