On Saturday we had our 6th annual Family Christmas Tea, a tradition I started that first Christmas without Thomas when I was desperate to make new memories in place of the ones I'd imagined we'd be creating (with a 9-month old boy dressed in the santa suit his Grandma had knitted for him).
I've been baking and prepping for the last three weeks, and at 2:00pm on Saturday afternoon the plastic wrap came off the trays of goodies, and I scooped the whipped cream for the diabetic gingerbread cake into the candy cane bowl as my family walked in the front door.
The best moment of the day was when my dad, snuggled into the comfiest chair in the family room by the fire, smiled and said, "This is exactly where I wanted to be today."
The second best moment of the day was when my nephew, giggling and sticky with candy cane face, played charades with me in the kitchen.
It is possible, as it turns out, for your heart to both melt and break all at the same time.
A few weeks ago my sister handed me a little round paper ornament. It was a copy of one that was going to be hung on the Christmas tree at the hospital where Thomas was born, in his memory.
By coincidence (one that has made my dad's health issues all the more emotionally complicated for me), it's the same hospital where my dad spent three months this winter/spring, and where he now receives dialysis three times a week.
On my way out of the dialysis waiting room on Friday, I spied the massive Chirstmas tree in the hospital's atrium covered in hundreds and hundreds of the little round paper ornaments purchased by family and friends in memory and honour.
I remembered the ornament that's now stuck on our fridge, and thought I might try to find its mate on the tree.
The tree has to be upwards of 20 feet tall and easily six feet wide. There are, as I said, hundreds of paper ornaments covering it from top to bottom.
And I found Thomas' almost instantly, about seven feet up and facing directly into the renal unit.
So I know he's watching over his Grandpa, at Christmas and always. Just like I asked him to.
And speaking of Christmas, I got an early present the other day when I opened up my e-mail and found I'd been given a really sweet blog award by Lady Pumpkin! This is my very first one, and I have to say I was chuffed. I really was.
As per the instructions, I'm now passing the Cherry On Top award to the following five wonderful women who always manage to say something that makes me smile, cry, nod or laugh - sometimes all in the same post:
Pamela at Silent Sorority
Justine at A Half Baked Life
Here are the rules: Link back to the person who awarded you, and then pick five blogs to pass the award along to. Make sure to comment on the awarded blogs so they know they’ve been picked.
Thank you again, Lady Pumpkin! I'm glad you think I'm deserving of a cherry on top!