As I decorated the tree, I put up the old ornaments that we had when I was a child. Some of them have been broken, but there are enough to take me back to putting up the tree and all the excitement about Christmas I felt years ago. My father loved Christmas, maybe because it was his birth month; but I also think that he liked giving and receiving presents. He was sentimental about many things.
I miss him. I miss family who died this past year. My father has been dead over 25 years now. But I remember him clearly. I have a few regrets from the years when he was drinking. I believe that he knew in later life how much I loved him and respected him. He and I are alike in many ways: bluntness, impatience, love of animals, tender hearted, conflicted, respectful, controlling. Our alikeness may explain why we butted heads so much when I was younger. I didn't like his trying to control me and that's because I had an issue with control too. As they say, "if you spot it, you've got it."
I know that this is a difficult time of year for so many. So many reminders of what used to be. We decided to just keep it simple and not have an open house this year. We are going to cook our meal for Christmas Day and be together. And I'll be thinking about my parents, my wife's parents, and all the other family members who are gone. I don't want to dwell on the sadness, but lightly touch on happy memories.
Today my memory is of a day old baby being loved by his mother as his sisters went about the house hold chores. I imagine the neighbors stopped by the farm to see the son born to my grandparents. A December baby born on a snowy day. An early present. Happy birthday, Dad.