Our Holidays Got Different

This second Christmas without Joe is harder than the first. The numbness has worn off. Cole and I are keenly aware that we are now a family of two. We have kept our holiday traditions, but every single one is different without Joe.

Every year, Joe and Cole would trot off to buy a Home Depot Christmas tree. From time to time, I had visions of cutting down our own tree, but Joe was not under any illusions that cutting down our own tree would be a Hallmark moment for our family. The Home Depot tree would come home, the stand would be located, and we would engage in the is-it-straight game. God forbid I suggest that the tree might not be as straight as it could be after the bolts on the stand had been tightened.

Cole picked out our tree this year – a big, beautiful Douglas Fir. We brought it home. Cole found the stand and asked me over and over again, “Is it straight, Mom? Look at it from all angles. Are you sure it’s straight?” I think he also cursed a little.

Joe would put the lights on the tree. Cole and I would decorate the tree, while Joe disappeared with his martini. He would return in time to inquire where we had hung special decorations and to join Cole in throwing big bunches of tinsel on the tree. I objected, of course, as it is written that every mother should, admonishing them to hang each strand of tinsel carefully.

Last year, Cole attempted to hang the lights on the tree. He seemed so confident when he started. It took my mom, dad, Cole and me two hours to untangle them and start again. Who knew you did not wrap lights around the branches of a tree? My parents re-hung the lights masterfully. This year, Cole and I will hope for the best as we light up the tree, and I will heed my mother’s recent warning, “Remember, don’t leave my grandson alone with the Christmas tree lights.” Together we will hang the ornaments, remembering which ones Joe insisted we hang in front, like the angel Joe and I bought for Cole the Christmas before he was born.

Joe had visions of grandeur each year when it came to decorating the outside of the house. He always planned to put all the decorations up the day after Thanksgiving. Aside from the eve of our wedding (December 23rd) when he hung the lights in a snow blizzard, it never happened.  Usually, he ended up wrapping a few strands of lights around our bushes and calling it done. A few years ago, he came home with a hard plastic polar bear wearing a stocking cap that glowed. He planted it in the yard and then insisted that Cole and I come out for the lighting of the bear. We ooh’d and aah’d. The polar bear stood alone proudly, and Joe declared the outside of the house decorated. We were the house with the polar bear.

We still have to put the polar bear out this year. When Cole and I discussed it, he sighed and said, “Mom, decorating for the holidays is a lot of work.” We will put the polar bear out together. He will plug it in, and I will ooh and ahh.

Cole needed chocolate for his school’s Secret Santa gift. Joe always insisted that he would handle buying the chocolate. Year after year, I believed him. Year after year, he forgot.  Year after year, we fought about it. I never learned. He never remembered to buy the chocolate

This year, I did not have to make a last-minute run to Target for chocolate.

Cole and I were sitting together on the couch, drinking eggnog.

Our toast was one martini glass short.

Cole and I will spend Christmas Eve with dear friends and Christmas Day with family. Cole will ski and sled his way through the holiday break, and I will run my business and carve out time for Cole and I to do things together.

The holiday season will come, and the holiday season will go … without Joe.

And the holidays will be different without Joe.

Glad you were in my Odd neighborhood. Feel free to drop by any time. I would love to hear from you in the comment section of this blog, or on Facebook or Twitter!

★~♥~♥~★~ ♥~★~★~♥ ~


Showing off my links…

None of them are affiliate links. Just odds and ends I found along my internet travels that made me think of you …

Here is a fun post on decorating your house the “right way.”

I made these cookies and they were very, very good.  Best part!!  I found yet another use for my waffle iron.

If you are looking to buy the best shaving cream EVER for the man in your life, check out this company: Nancy Boy. Actually, they sell a lot of great products and I bet you’ll find the company sales approach very refreshing!

Don’t forget these great books or books on tape for your pre-teen reader: Sara and Solomon-A story of dreams come true.

22 thoughts on “Our Holidays Got Different

  1. Roll out that Polar Bear!! Pour me a glass of egg nog-I’m with Geri up above me-I want to be part of that egg nog cheer.

    I am toasting your humor, your style, and your class. How you do, I’m not sure and it always amazes me. Your kid is as amazing, as his mother with a lot of his dad mixed in. God save us. 😀

  2. You are a family of two and yet you are a family of many because of the love you consistantly share day after day Katybeth. Infinity is vast and the ways of love in universal reckoning are many…please know that by your actions, many who would not otherwise know love…Do. I thank you for your friendship and the way that you share your life with so many of us. My blessings to you and your family.

  3. What a loving and tender story and I’m so glad you shared it with all of us. Christmas, for many, is steeped in tradition. But I’m finding as the years go by,that each Chrismas is different. And each Christmas can make us all acutely aware of the twists and turns our lives have taken – some good, some not. Our children grow up, our parents get old, friends and family members move away, and precious loved ones are no longer with us. The key, I believe, is to keep our memories of Christmas past close to our hearts, while deliberately experiencing the current season with a keen awareness that we have the power to create and share our own happiness and in doing so, create new memories for years to come. Joe would not want it any other way for you and Cole. I’m sure of it.

  4. I’m toasting too…cheers and more cheers! What a moving and heartfelt post, Katybeth. Wishing you and Cole a Very Merry Christmas. Hugs, Diane

  5. God bless you and Cole. What a story. I dont even drink but I think I will get a wine cooler or something and toast you and the Holidays. Heres to a wonderful lady, a great teen, and to a husband that I feel I know even though I have never meet him. To the Roscotti Family. Cheers. Have a great holiday. May 2011 bring you more peace and much 🙂 happiness.

  6. Thankyou for sharing your beautiful story with all of us! I agree with Kathy, I’ve heard so many wonderful stories about Joe that I feel as if I know him and what an incredible person he was, warts and all! His spirit will live on with you and Cole, I know that you will continue the celebrations and the traditions as you did before and add a few here and there as time goes on. Joe will be watching, smiling and frowning, but accepting of everything you do. Happy holidays, make every day special! xx

  7. Oh, Katybeth… you’re quite a woman. You’ve expressed your feelings so beautifully. I’m glad you have that wonderful son to help you through the rough spots.

    Merry Christmas to you and Cole.

    Oh–my husband decorated the outside of our house unsupervised when the kids were small and as a result, we had the house on the block that looked like a blinking beer joint. Your mother is right about leaving boys (of any age) alone with the lights.

  8. Christmas I’ve noticed is different every year. Some years are more merry than others but I believe the Peace that surpasses are limited understanding enters into our homes when we welcome the Christ child in our hearts.

    Those quiet moments when the tree is glowing and the Christmas music is playing and the spirts from our loved ones join us and make this time of year magical.

    Godbless you and Cole and may your Christmas be merry!

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