Sunday, December 25, 2011

Just before Midnight, Christmas Eve: Cheers

It's late.  Just before midnight.  By the time this posts, it will be Christmas.

Tonight my family got together and we ate, drank, exchanged gifts, and enjoyed each others company.  It was so good to see family we haven't seen in so long again.  And we also did what we always do, what my Grandfather loves....  We sang carols together as a family. 

We all did pretty well at first.  But then we began to sing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", and no one I think made it to the end.  Slowly but surely we all glanced at the frail man with a big smile in the chair.  Slowly we all began to choke up as we tried to hold back the tears, knowing this was more than likely our last time doing this him.  (google the lyrics if you don't know them and don't understand why this was so hard for us)

I think he had a good night.  He had small moments of confusion (like thinking my husband was my deceased dad), but over all, it was a good night.  He smiled so big almost all evening long.  He was with the people he loves. 

I can't begin to put into words what I (and more than likely all of us) were feeling tonight.  We had moments of laughter and joy.  But there were tears too, off and on all night.  Tears of pain.  Tears from memories.  Tears for the man we all loved and the fate we all know soon awaits him.  Tears we never let him see.

It was so important to all of us that he had a great time tonight.  I think we accomplished that.  I know we did. 

Tonight is one of those bitter sweet nights.  A night where celebrated so much.  And as much as I should be looking forward to tomorrow right now, I'm not.  I'm sitting here in ... a funk?  Maybe that's not the right word.  But what would the right word be?  I'm warmed by the feelings of love tonight and all the memories and smiles.  Yet, I'm also sad knowing this was probably my last Christmas Eve with him.  Shoot, my 10 yr old came home, collapsed in my arms and cried her little heart out.  She knew.  We all do. 

I wish I could let the tears flow like she did.  I wish I could just open up and let it all out.  It might be cleansing.  But even as I write this, I fight the tears.  I refuse to cry, afraid that if I start, I won't stop.  What a crumby place to be in emotionally on this night.

I am thankful though.  Thankful for my family and loved ones.  We are blessed a bunch.

We gathered with:  My grandparents, their 4 daughters & their spouses, and their children, and children's children.  (so grandparents, children & spouses, grandchildren, and great grandchildren).  My sister's in-laws were even there.  We love them and consider them family too.

And you know what?  We don't squabble.  We don't fight.  There is no family drama.  There is joy and laughter, and jokes, and reminiscing.  How many families are really like that?  Where the entire extended family gets together and is just, happy?  I think there were 33 of us there tonight total.  And no drama.  I love that about my family.  I do.  I love that we love to get together and just be together.  It's what matters most to us.  It started with my grandparents, and this family value has trickled down to their children and grandchildren.  I can only hope I am raising my girls with the same family value.

So cheers!  Cheers to my family whom I love.  Cheers to Christmases past and Christmases yet to come.  Cheers to love and laughter.  Cheers to memories made, and memories yet to be made.  Cheers to love.  Love is what holds us together.  Love is what brought the Christ child to us to die on a cross for us.  Love is what matters most.  And I am blessed to have a life full of it.  Cheers to a wonderful man, my Granddad.

Merry Christmas Everyone.  May yours be full of love, laughter, joy, and good memories made. 

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