Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Today I remember Christmases past. I remember the year Colby was fifteen months old and kicked Santa Claus. The year he was a little more than two and was afraid to sled down my mom's slightly sloping driveway. We made snow angels instead. I remember the year he was three and got the choo choo train and the drum he had been asking for all year, every day, since the Christmas he was two.

By Colby's fourth Christmas he and my mom and I were sledding down the bigger hill in her yard like pros. That was also the year he begged to go to the dinosaur exhibit at the Minnesota Science Museum, then screamed when he saw the first dinosaur and refused to go in. By age eight Colby had graduated to sledding the hills at the local golf course and by age ten he was beginning to snowboard. We built snow forts and snow men (and snow women and dogs) and had a number of snowball fights.

In between the snow, there were trips to other museums, art exhibits, plays, concerts, restaurants, and lots and lots of movies. And board games. Colby always won at Michigan Rummy. And there were always projects Mom needed done. Colby fixed the gate to the downstairs when he was about twelve and it still works. He re-hung closet doors, helped clean out those same closets, and learned to drive on snow.

When Colby was maybe nine, he and Mom and I made cardboard swords and decorated them glitter, beads, and bits of sparkly fabric from my old skating costumes. He made cookies with the neighbor behind us and we went for winter walks in the neighboring woods. He and I checked out the neighbor's houses from the front by walking on the frozen lake, being sure to stay close to the shoreline. We snuggled during blizzards, went to church, and drove around in the evenings and looked at Christmas lights.

I am so grateful for these wonderful memories. Christmas will never be the same without Colby, without family. I struggle with this new reality, in finding my place in holiday doings and the family gatherings of others. For now I ignore them. Colby's loss is still too fresh, too painful. Someday, maybe, the holidays will mean something to me once again. In the meantime I am blessed to have had wonderful Christmases past.

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