My last holiday…

I didn’t know last holiday season was my last.  I didn’t know you would be gone.  I didn’t know it was all over.
Every season… your birthday, thanksgiving, Christmas… it was so full of love, laughter and family.  It was full of everything I adored and I took it for granted as one of those things that would always be there.  I would always have you I thought.  I would always have the holidays.  I would always have the traditions.  I would always have the joys.  I would every year have two months of nonstop fun, food and laughter.  I was horribly wrong.
In a blink of an eye, it was all gone.  You are gone which is what hurts the worst… but with you, you took the holidays.  You took the love and laughter.  We are left with a charade of events that we all try to muster through and hold our breath until it is over.  We pretend for Skylar.  We didn’t know it was our last and we certainly don’t want it to have been her last at age one.
The pajamas.  I couldn’t take the tradition from Skylar and she had a beautiful nightgown from nana that she wore proudly all day and still has not removed as of this evening.  I am as big as a whale so wore whatever is comfortable and I noticed Cary sported his pj pants from last year.  I didn’t know those were our last pajamas.
The gifts.  We did such a better job the past few years of not going overboard and focusing more on each other, but it was still so nice to see the thoughtfulness and joy that went into each gift.  I get emails daily from the NFL store for where I used to buy you everything.  I was always so excited to see your face at yet another bears shirt.  This year I bought Finley some to fill a void I cannot fill.  I didn’t know those were our last gifts.
The waiting game.  You were often last to arrive and maybe stayed out too long at the casino, but we all waited for you to stroll in for any of the action to begin.  Everyone was on time today.  Even Mike.  Cary actually had to speed up his cooking.  I felt all day like I was waiting for you still.  I would give anything to hear you burst around the corner acting as if you had been here for hours.  I didn’t know that was our last waiting game.
The games.  You were the best taboo partner I could ever ask for.  You lived in my head and as scary as it was sometimes, I lived in yours.  Over the years people got sick of playing with us because they were never a match.  I didn’t know those were our last games.
The food… and the drinks.  Well the food was always plenty and we would fight over the caramel apple salad.  The beverages… staying up late and being ridiculous.  You would always have a new fun drink of choice including items all the way to yohoo!  This year there were no infamous drinks… and we kept the food anything but traditional with flank steak tacos.  I didn’t know those were the last food and drinks.
The hugs.  No matter what, every holiday you were even more huggy than your usual self.  I would score a minimum of ten.  Skylar even got kisses and flirted with you like crazy.  You would always just hug mom and I over and over and say how grateful you were for us.  I didn’t know those were the last hugs.
I am very proud of our pretending…our charade… our new non-traditions… our ways of ensuring it is different enough that it may sting a little less.   In a few hours I can say I survived and I will be shocked.  A small part of me didn’t want to survive it, I wanted to fall apart the way I feel we all deserve to.  I want to stay in bed for days and drown in my tears.  But… we are trying to survive.  Trying to pretend for Skylar that the very best time of year can still bring her joy.  Trying to prepare for yet another little one to enter the world any day now… and make sure she doesn’t know how sad of a world she is entering as this is not her fault.  My girls didn’t choose for that last holiday season to be the last.  Even more so, I know you would never wish an ounce of sorrow for them and would do anything to protect them from that.  I know you were here today and very proud of how great we did for Skylar – she was so happy and loved her presents and having everyone here so much.  Her favorite part of the day of course was Captain… or as she calls him her Cappy.  He even hopped in the tub and drank out of the faucet which she found hilarious.  She also got a necklace from you and was so proud to say it was from her husband in her heavens.
The holidays I knew and loved were taken from me just along with you.  That is my new reality.  I will find new ways… new traditions… for my girls.  A different kind of holiday…IMG_1383They deserve the world and more.  Skylar has so much of your spirit in her… I feel like I get to have bits and pieces… a glimpse of what I had.  Next year we will have even another baby and source of giggles and love that will hopefully continue to distract us for the huge gaping hole that is now in our heart, in our lives, and in our holidays.  I welcome any and all distractions from the heartbreak that I feel all the time.  I know you would hate this for me… for us… so I keep reminding myself of that.  You would never intentionally hurt us.  You would not want to have taken the holidays.  I know you have found peace and I am forever grateful for that.  If the pain you have left down here allows you to be pain free, we will continue on and live with the pain you have left behind.  I hope the casinos and movies in heaven are all you imagined.  Enjoy the moments.  Enjoy your pajamas, food, gifts, drinks, hugs… enjoy them with all your grandparents and the pups.  They are lucky to have you.  We sure wish we still did.

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