Christmas is my favorite time of the year. Especially since my son was born. I get to relive all of those magical childhood memories through my son and see those through my son’s eyes. I love it. I love surprising him. I love the oooohs and the aaaaahs and the oh my goshes. I cannot get enough. It does not seem to phase him that he hasn’t spent Christmas with his father since he was two years old…so it doesn’t phase me either. However, I am missing my father this Christmas.
I do not remember the last time I spent Christmas or any holiday with my father. I venture a guess at maybe when I was 16 years old. I traveled to Iowa from California on Christmas day. There was no special Christmas fanfare. Just me and him watching television, basically. He may have made fried chicken and milk gravy, my favorite…but I do not remember.
The one tradition my sister and I had with my father was to call him on Christmas Eve so he could sing “O Holy Night” to us. It was our favorite and he was great at hitting those high notes. He was a great singer. He came from a family of singers…had I told you that before? Yep. They sing. Mostly in church choirs, but most of his siblings do indeed sing and sing well. Anyhow. That was something that my sister and I did. We would get on the phone with him and he would sing to us. We wanted so badly to include him in our Christmas even though we lived far apart. The last time he did it was quite some time ago. He got mad about something and he didn’t want to sing it. So, we stopped requesting that he sing it.
Other than that, my dad sent us cookies every Christmas. Chocolate chip, peanut butter (my favorite) and chocolate oatmeal. I will miss getting those cookies this year. I will miss his Christmas cards too.
Last night, I was talking to my mom on the phone. I told her about the new tradition I am starting with Max by taking him to a Christmas tree farm to cut our own tree, like we used to do with dad. I remembered going with the whole family and the last time we did that it was just my dad, my sister and I. I remember it to be fun. My mom reported otherwise. She said my dad made that a miserable tradition. He wanted us to get the first tree we saw and if we didn’t he made us miserable. But I don’t remember that. My mom made it special so we didn’t have to remember it. That is what moms do.
After my parents divorced, my mom got tired of covering up for our dad and his bad attitude and his propensity to consume alcohol on the reg. Even after his death, she still can’t bring herself to cover up his true self. But that is okay. We all get tired of something every now and then.
My dad had changed some and had learned some hard lessons in life. His drinking ceased upon his diagnosis with cancer and his “oh well” attitude continued. He was okay with what life had dealt him and I think deep inside he probably thought he deserved it. I do wonder if he had any regrets. I wish I knew. Would he have done anything differently with his daughters? He definitely favored his son which is most likely because they are both male and had stuff in common. My sister and I didn’t have much in common with my dad. But that didn’t stop us from loving him and it didn’t stop him from loving us, flaws and all.
So, this Christmas, I am mourning my father, my dad. I miss him dearly. I mourn what could have been. I mourn the fact I don’t remember the last time I spent Christmas with him. I mourn that I had no real traditions that included him or I carry on because of him. This will be a difficult Christmas to get through, but I will. My family will.