Ok, I can tell you right now, this is going to be a bit of a downer post. Sorry in advance, but, hey… It’s my blog and this is one of the sadder memories I realized as it happens I will always carry with me. So. You get to experience it too.
This past weekend I went up to take part in a family tradition for the first time in like 15 years. Coincidentally, single parenting I think is what kept me from doing it when I was younger and single parenting is what made the memory I can barely stand to think about now.
Most of my mother’s side of the immediate family now lives on Whidbey Island, where I grew up. Every year for about the last 12-15 years, my Mom, brother, Aunt, cousin and grandparents (since they moved up to Whidbey from California) get together in Coupeville to take part in the Christmas parade and tree lighting ceremony. As we were waiting for the parade to start we began discussing it and realized I had never come down for the evenings events. We decided by coincidence that I must have just been with my dad each year.
It was not a weekend where I had Amelia. And now it starts getting kinda sad.
For the last couple of months we (Amelia and I) have been getting into some pretty serious conversations about Santa. Who he is, where he lives, the never-ending list of what she wants to ask him for and what he might bring her for Christmas, and the fact that she REALLY wants to go see Santa.
Engage lump. Even as I type. Dammit.
The parade was going fine, and I was minorly disappointed that Amelia couldn’t be there for the Christmas carols since she loves singing so much.
Then it happened.
Santa came up over the hill. And I thought about how much she would freak out to see him in person. And I got sad she wasn’t there.
Then it kinda hit me that I was missing the chance at a serious life memory. That first time she see’s Santa; being aware of what it means as a kid to see Santa.
Every time I looked up towards the lit-up sleigh with the waving Santa, the lump in my throat got stronger. As the rest of my family looked on and waved, I kept trying not to dwell on how much, especially in that moment, I missed my little girl. Luckily it was cold and rainy out, so the sniffling and wet upper face area was easily disguised as a rainy cold nose.
It still amazes me how uncontrollably strong my emotions for my child can be. It is an irrational and truly unconditional love. And not having her always around for everything is hard.
Not being able to share in that moment that all the parents around me were getting to relish in, taking for granted the moment as it happens as a routine part of the holidays, made it that much worse.
As he dashed through the rain past us, I managed to get through the moment without anyone noticing.
A deep breath, a strong effort to compartmentalize, and a fake smile. It’s amazing what those three things can do to hide what’s happening in your head.
After the parade they brought the sleigh around and had Santa walk through the crowd to meet the kids and take pictures with everyone. I, of course, had to get a photo with him to at least show Amelia that I had met him. A fake smile and a constant fight to keep the lump at bay… We took a couple photos with the fam and he moved on.
He was impressed with my little baby beard.
It’s something that will linger through all the walks near anything holiday-ey. Driving past a house with lights and not getting to point them out to Amelia. Eating the Christmas cookies we made together in an empty house. It just kinda sucks, man.
To keep it from being a totally lame depressing post…It’s not all bad. We’ll get to do plenty, go see Santa and drive around and look at Christmas lights and do fun holiday stuff together… and I get to wake up Christmas morning and enjoy her seeing the presents under the tree this year. But it’s the little moments you don’t get that can weigh so heavily.
I’m sure I’ve already said it once, but, the one thing I never wanted Amelia to have to go through was being a kid with separated parents. It is tough, and for us it is only just beginning.
I suppose on the plus side, silver lining or whatever, it makes you appreciate the moments you do get with your kids so much more.
Take the time to cherish your moments with family this Christmas; appreciate being a part of those events…
Stay close, more coming soon///