You see how I couldn’t resist adding Merry Christmas there, huh? Trying to be festive, even though at times I feel like the Grinch.

Christmas is a hard time for moms. We have a lot of expectations on our shoulders. And Santa never gets a free pass just because he’s tired. I love seeing my kids’ faces light up with wonder this time of year, but it’s hard work. Most Dads are on the outside looking in during Christmas. Moms tend to have the shopping gene. However, that gene passed me by. I do not enjoy it at all. However, I do enjoy making my babies happy and I am happy to do some online shopping for them.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter in general…however merry the holidays should be, they are also a time to reflect on the past and what or who we’ve lost. I miss my dad something fierce during the holidays. He wasn’t much of a holiday person, but every year he would go to the Christmas tree farm with me and my sister and cut down whatever tree we picked out. He would mutter about why couldn’t we just simply pick a tree, and then stand there while we ran from tree to tree. This one has a gap, that one is crooked…omg we were the worst. I know he got frustrated with us, but we never went home without a tree. I can picture him so easily standing in his flannel shirt, cursing and holding the saw. Lol. He was always moody during the holidays, but he always, always wanted us to be happy.

Oh geez…memories inundate me and have me crying as I sit here typing this. I really didn’t mean to get so nostalgic. I just miss that man so much. He was a hard man to understand. He went through so many hard times during his life and didn’t really know how to deal with it. He turned to alcohol, and in the end alcohol is what took him from us. But he was a truly good man. I know it seems like it would be hard to see someone as good who is so tortured, but he only ever wanted our happiness. He was a true parent, because in the end the main goal of any parent should be their child’s happiness. I love my kids, but I don’t think I ever understood all of the sacrifices my parents had to make to make me happy.

I think of my dad and how tough it must have been for him to put down the load that was constantly on his shoulders just so he could be present in the moment with us. I never understood how hard it must have been for him to pretend to be happy when he wasn’t.

I never knew what to get my dad for Christmas. Every year, he would say he didn’t need anything, that Christmas was just another day. He said the same about his birthday. He never believed he deserved anything. When he passed away, I found a lockbox that he had kept. It was full of old pictures and letters that he saved; things that must have been considered precious to him. In the box were all of the cards that my sister and I had given him over the years for his birthday and Christmas. Those cards did mean something to him, simply because they were from us. From my earliest scribblings to my more mature script, everything was there because it all mattered to him.

Unconditional love is hard to come by. If you have it, hold on and don’t let go. I’ll never be able to call up my dad and tell him Merry Christmas again, and I’ll never go tree hunting with him again while he curses under his breath. Hold onto the memories. Hold onto the good times and the bad. For God’s sake, don’t let go.

“There are memories that time does not erase…Forever does not make loss forgettable, only bearable.” Cassandra Clare, City of Heavenly Fire

Love you all,