Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Changes

It's hard to believe tonight is almost over thus ending another Christmas. I can't say that this year's was the best for me. I am sure it won't be the worst either but it was definitely different.

Our morning seemed lonely and sadder without the presence of our beloved family dog Jackie, absent for the first time since we've had Christmas in this house. Her death last month has left a hole in all our hearts. As I video taped the kids opening the presents and stockings from Santa, I couldn't help but remember Christmases past where Jackie would be sniffing around her own stocking waiting to see what goodies await her inside. There was no rush to vacuum the floor because her long black hair was littering the surface. Or a need to ask her politely to move out of the way so the kids could play with their new toys in our limited space of a living room. Oh how I long for those things again and hope someday in the future we'll be able to make new memories with another beloved pet. For now I will cherish the fond and comforting memories our Jackie girl gave us. I miss you girl and hope you are watching us in doggie heaven.

This year also marked the first without my dad being available to be with us. Although he wasn't with us the last couple of Christmases (unbeknownst to us because he was sick and didn't want to be around people), it was definitely a different feeling knowing he couldn't be with us versus didn't want to be. I knew he wasn't just sitting at home in his recliner watching TV. I knew I couldn't call him up and try to convince him to come cause we all wanted him here. I wish I'd tried harder to convince him when he was still with us. Samantha often mentions the times when Grandpa would come to Christmas and would read to her. Unfortunately I don't think there are enough of those irreplaceable memories with him for either myself or my children.

I wonder if things would have been different if he hadn't been sick for previous Christmases. Would he have come and spent more time with us? Especially on the holidays? Or were there just too many things that bothered him that would have kept him away? I'll never know so I choose to believe things would have been different. They would have been good and he would have been here with us spending time with his family, his grand kids. I felt a bit helpless knowing I didn't have a choice this year if my dad was here or not. He just wasn't and I missed him greatly as I do everyday knowing I can't just call him up or go see him.

As our family continues to change and get older, I have come to realize through the death of my dad and dog that we all won't be here forever. And as much as it might be frustrating or stressful to get us all together, it is important and vital. I don't ever want to miss out on being with the ones I love if I am able. Or if they are able. A time will come in the future when they won't be or they will have left us as well. It is essential to me to work diligently to keep our family together thought the holidays no matter how crazy, stressful or frustrating it may be.

It has to be for me. I hope it will be for my kids and their kids too. Love the ones you have with you now for someday they may not be.