A Different Kind of Christmas
RSU is decked out in red and green lights. Inflatables decorate our front lawn in Kansas. Mom’s Mickey Mouse village is set up in the living room. The Christmas tree is up, covered in ornaments for every year that we’ve been a family. My favorite year is 2004. It’s the year when my brother joined our family and finished us up. Obviously, that makes my least favorite ornament 2016. It’s the year that five became four again.
Christmas was my favorite time of year two years ago. Lights and stockings and time off from school, what wouldn’t I look forward to? I don’t find myself getting excited anymore. Everyone else is. If they weren’t, why would they be decorating and wrapping presents and getting ready for Santa?
It feels like I’m frozen this Christmas season, and everyone is moving without me.
I know why I feel that way. There’s going to be an empty stocking on Christmas morning. There’s going to be one less gift under the Christmas tree. There’s going to be an empty chair at the dinner table. There are just a million memories around Christmas that remind me that Daddy’s not here with us.
I’m not a Grinch or a Scrooge. I’m just a nineteen-year-old who misses her daddy.
Mom does her best to make Christmas a special time even though Daddy’s gone. Last year, she gave us bracelets with his handwriting on them and pillows from his work shirt. My pillow sits on my bed at school. Our Elf on the Shelf, Chuckles, is quite the clown during the days leading up to Christmas. He delivered pajamas and put googly-eyes on everything in the kitchen.
That doesn’t mean it’s the same. It doesn’t hurt any less.
Christmas will never be the same without him, but he wouldn’t want my love for the holidays to die with him. Things have changed for my family, and we’re going to be spending the holidays in different places this year. While we’re at our table, he’ll be sitting at God’s.
He won’t be in Heaven come Christmas morning, though. While we open presents, he’ll be in the empty chair that’s saved just for him. He’ll be watching us celebrate, even if we can’t see him. We’re still a family, and we’re still loved, even if we can’t always see it.