Monday, December 30, 2013

Birthday in Heaven

Today would have been my father's 85th birthday.  Unfortunately, he's been gone from us for almost 20 years.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss him.  I told my nine year old today how much fun he and his grandfather would have had playing jokes on everyone and being ornery.  They have a very similar personality in that respect and both my sons have my father's blue eyes.

My dad adored his grandchildren.  My sisters' kids got the pleasure of knowing and loving him.  They were teenagers and young adults when he passed.  My girls......it's painful for me to even think about how close they were to him and at five and eight, when their beloved Pop Pop was just gone.....it took them years to get over it. My father kept them whenever they wanted to visit, picked them up from school, took them for treats, brought them donuts, loved them with a passion.  My girls idolized him and he saw them each and every day.

My oldest son was just a year old when his pop died. Another grandson that my father was so thrilled to have!  My father was right there when Brian David was born twelve weeks early, calm and steady, he was sure that all would turn out fine, even when my husband and I were terrified they wouldn't.  My father would hold him and walk with him, showing him the ceiling fans that seemed to fascinate my little man so.

My father died of an aneurysm on July 6, 1994.  He never got to see my youngest son, who is so very much like him.  He never got to see his girls grow up to be women or his "dink" have two beautiful girls of her own.  He never got to see his six great granddaughters or two great grandsons.  He would have been so proud of how his family has grown.

I don't always talk about my dad, but I miss him every day.  I dream of him and he's always smiling.  I hear his laugh in my mind and I smile.  I reminisce about the silly things he did that drove my mother crazy.  I share memories of him with my sons.  It's not enough, but it's all I have.

One day I will see him again, when I leave this world for the next.  I will smell his English Leather cologne and see his bright blue eyes twinkle.  I sometimes think that if I could just knock on the door of my childhood home that he would be sitting right there on the sofa, watching his console TV with Hogans Heroes or Gilligan's Island on.  It's true that you can't ever really go home again, but if I could, I know he would be there.

Happy Birthday, Daddy.  I love you.  You were always so much fun and I miss you.  I hope there are celebrations in heaven and maybe John Wayne and Carroll O'Conner are helping you blow out your candles.  Until we meet again....

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas!

It was hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year for some reason.  We did alot less as a family in terms of Christmas shows and pagents etc, but alot more in terms of cold nights under warm blankets watching movies and being together.  We were happy, just not jolly, I guess you could say!  Two days before Christmas we decided to head out with our boys and have dinner.  This turned into a very nice holiday outing with dinner at Ruby Tuesdays, walking in the mall, seeing an old friend, hanging out and watching a holiday train garden and seeing some lights on the way home.  Christmas Eve was spent playing games, watching movies and I wrapped while my husband took the boys out for last minute mom shopping.  I baked lots of cookies and about 8pm we got our houseful of guests, including MomMom, both daughters, our son in law, both granddaughters and my daycare baby, along with her mom.  We all waited excitedly for Santa to come by on the fire truck, going out too early and freezing to death, but enjoying the anticipation of seeing the fire truck crest the hill and Santa to be aboard.  The two toddlers were jumping in the back on my husbands truck, squealing and clapping.  My nine year old was dancing with excitement and when the moment finally came, everyone was excited, waving and yelling for Santa.  The kids faces were lit up and their eyes sparkled with that magic only Santa brings.  

Back inside where it was warm and in new pajamas, I gathered my little son, one daughter and one granddaughter up onto the sofa so that I could read the traditional Twas the Night Before Christmas before seeing the older ones off to their own homes and my sons off to bed.  My nine year old still believes, so there was milk and cookies for Santa and so much anticipation that he couldn't sleep.  At 4am he came in my room yet again and said "Good Morning, Mom!".  Sorry, buddy.....not yet!  Finally at 6:15, my husband got up and went in to him and they both piled onto our 20 year old and woke him up.  The dogs had to get in on the fun and I went out to light the tree and make the coffee.  

Opening presents was more fun with all 4 kids at home, but the boys enjoyed their morning, taking turns with their gifts and talking about them.  They had gotten me a few things and the gifts were thoughtful and things that really represent me.  I was very impressed!  Then my husband gave me a compliment.....he told me I "really know what they want" and I do "a good job" with Christmas.  He is not a man of much verbal praise for me and his kind words made my heart sing.

After breakfast with the boys and our younger daughter, we all did our own thing, relaxing and napping and I made the food that I had to take to our older daughter's house for dinner.  We girls headed out a little early to help with getting dinner out and ready and the guys all joined us for a great Christmas feast.  There were family members from my side, from my daughters' natural father's side and from my son in law's family, so it was a nice mix and conversation flowed freely while the granddaughters got lots of attention and hugs.  

My husband and I finally got into bed close to ten and both of us had to work in the morning, although he was the one that had to get up and out since I work from home.  We snuggled in under the covers and kissed another wonderful Christmas goodbye.  Here's to the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.  I am ready for a bright and positive new year full of fun and family, love and busy activity.  Thank you  God for blessing my family with good health and enough to keep them comfortable and get them through.