The season of anticipation is upon us. Christmas is just around the corner, and for the first time since I was a kid, I wish there were a Santa Claus.
This week has passed with each day finding me in tears at some point.
I thought last year would be the hard year. I had no idea how numb I was...until the numb wore off.
This year, I'm not numb. This year I'm wishing there were a Santa Claus.
One thing Rob and I did well was Christmas.
We picked an evening, went on a date, had dinner, and shopped for the children. On another day, we would split the children up, have parent child date night, and let them shop for each other. Then he would take them for a night with Dad, and they would shop for me.
We put the tree up together. I doled out the ornaments, and everyone else decorated the tree, each person putting the personal ornaments from the years before. The children shared putting up the Pooh Bear figurines, and Rob always put up the Star Trek Shuttle and the Fragile leg from A Christmas Story.
On Christmas Eve, we baked cookies and put them on a plate for Santa. A glass of milk sat by them so he could dip the cookies or simply swallow down the sugar. The children wrote letters to Santa, telling about their year, telling him thank you, wishing him well, and all the teeth lost during the year were laid nicely by the plate for Santa to take to the Tooth Fairy so she could have the night off.
When the children were asleep, Rob and I would watch It's a Wonderful Life and wrap gifts. He wore his green reindeer shirt I made him the year we got married and his Christ-moose socks with the big antlers and fuzzy red nose. We packed stockings, laughed a lot, and thanked God for the wonder of being parents.
He ate the cookies--leaving lots of crumbs--and drank the milk and wrote in elegant print a letter from Santa replying to the children's notes, thanking them for the goodies, and telling them how thoughtful it was to give the Tooth Fairy the night off.
On Christmas, the schedule altered some, but for the most part, we opened gifts, ate lunch, played with toys, played games, and enjoyed being a family...even last year.
But this year...
This year the kids really have nothing they want, and I don't want to shop alone anyway. We've decided not to put up the personal ornaments but buy all new ones. And I can't even think about Christmas Eve or letters to Santa that have no one to answer, and, yes, the kids knew it was their dad, which makes it even harder. I don't know when I will be alone to wrap presents, and I cannot watch It's a Wonderful Life without wishing Rob could have realized how amazing he was to us and how much he gave to us by simply being part of life.
And how do we even touch Christmas Day?
And this year, I wish there were a Santa Claus.
I wish I could wake up Christmas morning to find gifts under the tree, stockings filled, and lights shining...on the tree and in the darkness.
I wish there were boxes and bags of new things,
things we've never considered,
things that show us something new about ourselves and the life being rebuilt,
things that fill the air with laughter and our hearts with joy.
I wish there were a Santa to take the weight of the day,
to fill it with life when it feels like everything about it this year just reminds us of death.
I wish he would fill the air with laughter and the smell of pumpkin pie.
I wish he would bring the perfect gifts,
the perfect people,
the perfect hugs,
the perfect stocking stuffers,
...the perfect heart fillers.
I wish he would bring the Christmas I can't even imagine this year.
I wish there were a Santa Claus.