Leaves on this Family Tree

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Not The Way We Dream Christmas Will Be

Last night, which I hoped would be my 1st night in a week of sleeping in bed . . . ie, Merry Christmas to me, my shoulder doesn't hurt.

As I lay in bed, the whole evenings emotions came flooding to the surface . . . Christmas just sucks.

Yes, you heard me right, Christmas just sucks!

Not the birth of the Christ Child. That is beautiful.

Not the "tis better to give than receive," that is pretty great too.

Not the joy of getting together with the youngest generation of the family, that is what Christmas is about . . the joy of a child.

It's all the memories of Christmas' past that come flooding back from the depths of one's brain to the forefront. All of the wonderful memories that were created in  my childhood with people who are no longer here. 

Dad and Mom, sometime in 1953.

Every Christmas Eve we would get dressed in our "Christmas finery" and go to Mom's best friend Dolores' house until they left for Midnight Mass. Eddie, her husband, would always try to organize all 5 of the combined family's kids into a "play."

Then Eddie would "see" Santa and the reindeer flying over the skies of Logan and we "had to get home" so Santa would stop.

Dolores and Eddie had 3 children, Kackee, Tom and Steve . . . Steve is the only one in the family still alive. Kackee died quite a while ago and Tom, who is now Father Ed, died this fall form Cancer. 

When we left there, so they could go to Midnight Mass, we would go to Herbie and Kady's. Spend a couple of hours there with them, their sons Jack and Rick and, later on, Herbies brother "my Uncle Bernard", his wife Kate, and the older guys girlfriends, and the girlfriends parents.

Well, Kady died of cancer, a nasty one too, Herbie died of cirrhosis of the liver, Jack died, several years before we moved here in 2006, from, I believe, an overdose and was found, several days later by his youngest son. Since we've been here Rick has also died . . perhaps from a heart attack, though I'm not sure.

So, see what I am talking about . . . of the 9 people outside of my family who made Christmas special and my own parents, grandmother and brother, there are only three of us alive this year.

Probably Dad's Last Christmas . . . 22 Dec 1981.
He looks so tired and sore . . his knees were bothering him so much.
Within three months he had died . . .
the evening he returned home from knee replacement surgery,
From Left: My brother Lee,
 the back of the youngest nephew, Matthew (who is now the father of my Miss E),
Dad, Lauren and Allison lying on the floor.
No idea where Chris was.

Add to that the fact that my brother and his four children are spending their Christmas in Alabama, at the favorite sunny, sandy spot of his wife so they will be able to spread some of her ashes from her cremation last Feb on her favorite beach . . . 

Can you understand why I think Christmas Day sucks?

Then, there is here in my own home. To be perfectly honest, after Mom and Dad died, I liked spending Christmas alone at home. One of the saddest things to do is to be invited to, and accept, a Christmas invitation from a family who celebrates Christmas their way. There is nothing wrong with their way, but it is like rubbing salt into an open wound. I could be happy for them, while my heart broke.

My brother's family tradition, once Mom and Dad died, was to have me over on Christmas Eve for dinner and exchange gifts . . . but Christmas Day I was on my own got used to it, enjoyed the solitude.

Now, we are "celebrating" Christmas 2013. My Christmas, New Years, Birthday, Wedding, and every other gift giving holiday was new dentures. Romantic, huh? He had lost his partials and was in dire need of a good set of teeth . . he has never had good ones, poor guy.

He kept asking me what I wanted for Christmas. Every once in a while I would say, :I'd like this," or "I think I would like that." Nothing major, usually "something seen on TV, like one of those things you use to make your hair into an easy bun.

Then, a couple weeks ago, we decided to buy things for teenagers for our local Rockin' Round the Christmas Tree" which collects new items, wraps them and labels the age appropriateness and has a HUGE party for the less fortunate in town. 

This made me feel great. When we put them in the container at our local diner, we found out that everything else in the barrel had been bought by one of the waitresses. So we went to Big Lots and bought a bunch of games that would be age appropriate for teenagers.

Both of these buying sprees made me happy.

Now, we are "celebrating" Christmas day. And I use the term "celebrating" loosely.

I made it until around 2:00 am in bed until my shoulder pain started, so I came downstairs and slept, night 10 of sleeping on the sofa.

I woke up at 8:00 am, and the husband came down about 9:00 am. It is now 10:48 and the husband is finally going through his sock. Guess opening isn't that important to him :( 

Am I pathetic. . . .Yes I am. But, if you have made it this far with me, there were highlights and here they are.

Christmas Day is for the children:)

Whoops . . . . looks like a "sideways" view of Christmas . . . LOLOL

Now for the my personal hi-lights. . . . 

I had the husband open  his "surprises" and he was surprised. I had picked up some fun things from those catalogs that have everything you need but never buy . . . figured out his was actually a themed Christmas . . . 4 kitchen towels (I found them packed away from last year), a disc to put in the brown sugar to keep it soft( is yours always as hard as ours is?) two small spatulas for getting those small pieces of whatever out of an 8" x 8" pan( we had one and I broke it . . . been looking for a replacement for several years, hope one of these works), a GIANT spatula that could "flip" 4 hamburgers at a time or use to take a pizza from an oven (QVC special . . . bought one for the hubby, one for my brother and one for our nephew here in NY  . . . Lee and the nephew always grill when we are with them), four of those "thingies" that you can use to seal pie dough around fruit or pasta dough around ravioli filling . . .  the husband says they look like three different size of dentures . . . and the BEST of all, a pair of jeans that will fit and look decent. He has needed them for right some time and I decided now was the time to get them.

Then I opened the three boxes that came to us from my BFF. Old Mule Peanut Brittle, divinity and some kind of seasoned nuts, from Tennessee. 

Next, a box from my cousins. Last year I said, "Remember, only food we make for Christmas  because we each make our own special stuff that each other likes."

Well, they did well . . . white covered Bugle party mix, some Buffalo popcorn, York peppermint patties, Homemade pretzel turtles, a bag of dog treats and cat treats, a dog bone and, the funniest sign om a stand that says, "Our Family Tree Is Full Of Nuts!"   PERFECT box from home.

Then, last, but not least, the box from all my nieces and nephews at home. First one brought the tears that had been so close to the brim . . a green sack with a thick rectangle wrapped in bubble wrap . . my youngest nephew, Matt, holding Miss E . . . one of my favorite      pictures that his wife, E's mom, took of her "twins." Next, a sleeve of Christmas cookies made by Lauren, the niece who is having the worst time with her mommas' death. Third, a bottle of wine from Chris who knows his Aunt Paula likes what he likes and, on the bottom, the coolest Snowman table runner. When I talk with them I will have to find out who made it . . . it has no tag from something that was store bought, so I know it's handmade.

Oh, and last but not least . . , one of the packages in the cousins package was wrapped in paper towels . . yes, we are THAT cool . . . said "Hairy Christmas" on i t. Opened it and there is the Duck Dynasty Christmas CD . . . listening to it right now . . what a hoot. We don't watch the show, but we know who they are and have seen them on other shows . . . this is really a good "family" album. If you have little kids, I would suggest  you get it for them . . they will LOVE it!

Now, I think I am ready to enjoy a normal Christmas and wait for Saturday night when we celebrate with my husband's family . . THEN it will officially be Christmas here in Western New York.


  1. I know what you mean. This year its been very hard since it was the first Christmas without daddy.

  2. I miss my Grandma every Christmas. Bittersweet Memories. Merry Christmas, Paula.


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