Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
As the great John Lennon once sang, “So this is Christmas.” There’s so much power in those four little words, isn’t there, Sweetpea? So much promise. Here we are, four days away from Christmas in 2011, and it feels decidedly unlike the Holly Jolly season. No snow. The temps are in the upper ’40s. And in fact, the closest thing to any hint of a holiday coming up is the fact that I’m sitting here eating a candy cane as I write this (Warning: I’m a candy cane fiend, so be prepared for me to eat a lot of them…). Sometimes, I’m even such a rebel that I take to stealing them from our Christmas tree.
But I digress. Seriously, though, it’s major holidays like these that make me think of you and wonder where you are. I wonder if you’re spending time with your friends, your family or spending a quiet holiday alone. I suppose I should let you know now that once you and I become a we, our hopes for a quiet holiday alone will forever be dashed. Take last weekend, for example. I celebrated Christmas with my father’s family. He has five siblings. I have 10 cousins. And one of my cousins has three children. The grand total for the shindig? Almost 30 people. Let’s just say that my house was hopping well into the evening, which, as you’ll come to find out, is a rare occurrence for me.
It’s nice to see my family, but it’s always been sort of bittersweet since my father died. His siblings remind me so much of him, even down to some of their mannerisms, and this past weekend, it felt like a part of him was with us, celebrating just like we used to. Have I ever told you just how much of a family man my father was? Family meant more to him than anything, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot this holiday season, Sweetpea. Family. The holidays are all about family, and when part of your family is missing, the wound in your heart stings just a teeny bit more this time of year.
Don’t get me wrong, Sweetpea. I’m so grateful for my family. They are incredible, and if not for them, I wouldn’t be who I am today. It’s just that these big events mark more milestones since he’s been gone. This will be my ninth Christmas without him, and frankly, that just blows my mind. It seems like it was just yesterday when we’d all sit around the tree at my grandparents’ house in Alabama, my father acting as Santa and passing out all the presents.
But those are some good memories, aren’t they? Memories that can never be taken away from me. These are the sorts of memories I hope we create with each other. I look forward to those days with you, Sweetpea. Those days of making memories without even realizing it. Those days of looking around the room, at all our family, and realizing that everyone that we love is with us. Those days where everything feels right with the world.
So until we meet, that is my wish for you this holiday season, Sweetpea. I hope you’re surrounded by everyone you love. I hope your holiday is everything you ever wanted it to be. And who knows. Maybe someday we’ll meet under the mistletoe. Until we meet… xoxo
[Photos via We Heart It]