I spent a lot of last month in the dumps. For some reason, I’m not sure why, this Christmas was the hardest one yet without my sister. I cried a lot. I missed her more than I have in a long time. I wanted and needed to hear her voice, to hug her and have her hug me back. I found myself in a bit of a depression.
Fortunately I had Christmas and 2 boys who were INSANELY excited about Christmas to get me through. I decorated my house with great gusto and handled with the utmost care all of the items that my sister has given me over the years. I rubbed my fingers over her writing on ornaments she and my nephew made for us several years ago. I shed a tear or three over the picture of her and her dog that she had taken with Santa one Christmas ages ago. There were so many memories. Emotions flooded me. For the first time since she died I was angry and hurt that she was gone. I ached in ways I never have before.
Still I pushed myself into my holiday traditions, all the while wishing I could pack up and drive to Iowa to spend Christmas with my nephew and BIL. I baked with the boys and actually decorated cookies with frosting – I haven’t done that in years!
I made caramel corn and chex mix and cinnamon almonds. I threw myself into things that would make other people happy because it was therapeutic for me.
We spent time pondering over the craziness of our Elf this year. I believe that I’ve mentioned in the past that we do not have the traditional Elf on the Shelf. Our Elf was given to us by someone a couple of years ago and the boys adopted him as our Elf on the Shelf and deemed him Mr. Elf Fluffy Beard. He got into all sorts of mischief this year. He was caught roasting marshmallows at the electric fire-place in the basement. He played Christmas carols at the piano. He slept with the boys and took pictures of the event – you know, since they aren’t supposed to be touching him. We determined it was ok if he touched them though. He peed green in our toilet and threw toilet paper everywhere. We went away for a night and he hung our underwear by the fireplace in place of our stockings. He slept in Keegan’s underwear drawer while wearing a pair of camouflage underwear – Santa vowed to talk to him about that one… He played Battleship with his buddy the stuffed Santa. He wrote on the mirror in the bathroom and colored on our pictures in the hallway. He even took time to bring back a picture of him with Santa to prove to our question askers that Santa is really real.
The weekend before Christmas we spent at a hotel in Michigan with my FIL’s side of the family. He comes from a very large family so it’s a rather large get together every year. The kids swim and laugh and play and the adults eat and play cards. We take the laptop every year and a variety of movies for the boys to watch when they are too tired to play any longer but aren’t quite ready to go to bed. This year we ended up with most of the young cousins in our hotel room laying on the same bed watching Arthur Christmas. I sat on the other bed reading my Kindle and loving having all of the kids hanging out with each other!
Christmas Eve we spent at my honey’s cousin’s house. Again the kids played amazingly well together. The food was plenty and the company was wonderful. Everyone had a delightful time. We made it home before Santa arrived and quickly sent the littles to bed. My honey and I stayed up until the wee small hours of the morning putting together an air hockey table that we got the boys for Christmas. We also had to scatter Santa gifts. We awoke Christmas morning long before the sun. We managed to hold off a very excited older brother – a brother who has been questioning the existence of Santa all season but wasn’t ready to let go this year and I couldn’t be more thankful – for about an hour after he actually woke up. That got us to about 7am. We recognize that our time for this type of excitement is limited so we take it all with a smile and a glimmer in our eye. Just to ensure that we get one more year out of this we managed to get a picture of Santa checking his list while eating cookies that we put out by our tree. Such an amazing guy, that Santa!
We spent Christmas day at home with some of our family dropping by. We had a ham in the oven, a veggie tray and a fruit tray and tons of munchies. It’s such a stress free day because everyone just shares in any work that needs to be done and everyone just enjoys the time together. My brother stopped by for a couple of hours – it was the first time we had seen him since he moved out. It was good to see him and the tension we had when he left seemed to be gone.
As we relaxed after everyone left and the boys were playing with various toys and video games, my honey decided to check out Facebook and offer up her Merry Christmas to everyone. She saw an update from my brother that he was engaged. At my house for 2+ hours and didn’t say a word. We have never met this girl and only learned of her in October. I got a text from my BIL that said “dude your brother just posted on FB that he’s engaged??? WTF???” I had no answer. I sent my brother a message and he texted me that he thought I knew since I had talked to our dad on Christmas morning. I was disgusted and hurt that he could do something this big and not say anything. Zilch. Zippo. Nada… I texted him that it would be nice to meet her and I dropped it. No sense crying over spilled milk or unannounced engagements.
Three days after Christmas I get up with the boys and move down to the living room. I check my phone for any overnight and early morning messages or updates. My text message notification was lit up. The first message I checked was from my mom stating that “since you didn’t know about the engagement I’m guessing you didn’t get invited to the wedding”. I figured my mom had just found out and was as upset as me. I texted her back that I didn’t know a wedding was planned yet and left it at that. As I perused the rest of my messages and realized that I had one from my brother from late the night before that simply said “thought you should know we eloped today.” SERIOUSLY??? Now I’m pissed.
I called my honey at work and bitched as much as I could in the short time that she could talk. I cry and get angry all over again that my sister is no longer on this earth. She was the one person I could have called about this madness who would have totally understood and would have bitched with me. I was fuming beyond belief and only got more angry with every phone call and text message from family members who were finding out about the wedding via Facebook. My brother had notified NO ONE that he was eloping. Naturally everyone thought I knew. HA!
What does one do when one is pissed beyond belief, it’s WAY too early in the day to get plastered (and being plastered with a 6 and 8-year-old in the house is like running your car into a semi on purpose over and over and over again), there isn’t enough money to shop enough to make you feel better and there is no one to call who truly gets it??? Well when I’m in this predicament I apparently clean… A LOT!
I left the boys to do whatever they chose – really it was better that way! I went into my bedroom and bathroom and didn’t come out for several hours. When I emerged I had 6+ bags for Goodwill and 2 bags of trash. Both rooms shined like the top of the Chrysler building and I’m pretty sure my reflection resembled that of Miss Hannigan, Carol Burnett style. Still I felt a little better and my honey was thrilled at the way I chose to take out my anger and aggression.
New Year’s Eve was spent at home with just our little family. Watching movies. Playing games. Eating popcorn. Laughing and having fun. We tried awfully hard to stay up until midnight but only I made it, as usual. New Year’s Day we went to see Rise of the Guardians at the theater. It has become a tradition for us to see a movie together on New Year’s Day and this year the flick was amazing! If you haven’t seen it I strongly recommend it. I can hardly wait until it comes out on DVD.
We spent days reading and sledding and playing and reading and gaming and reading and drawing and, and, and… It was, overall, a wonderful vacation. I’m still trying to move past the drama that comes with a holiday spent with family. I am back to work and the boys are back to school and life, as we know it, is returning to normal. Whatever that is…
We are looking forward to an amazing 2013 that is hopefully filled with meeting family members never before met, lots of laughs, yummy coffee, good food, great friends and an enormous amount of hugs and kisses. We hope that you had a fantastic holiday and that your 2013 fulfills all your deepest desires.