Saturday, December 31, 2011

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Empty Box

On this Christmas morning, I am sharing with you a story which happened
25 years ago.  I was 27 and had two s mall sons.  My mom had died that  June and it ws our first Christmaas without her.  My dad was only in his 50s but we had been noticing some alaraming symptoms.  Things that made us believe he was developing some sort of early  onset dementia,  It was devastating for us to think that my vibrant, extremely intelligent father was literally slowly losing his mind. We all missed Mom and it was difficult even thinking about Christmas without her.  But Dad insisted we carry on.  I remember he often said those last few weeks before Christmas that he was out Christmas shopping.  He wanted no help...he wanted to do t on his own.  My mom had done most of the shopping so this was a  pretty new concept!!      So on t hat Christmas morning he slowly handed out our presents.  He handed me a box wrapped in pretty  Christmas paper. It was the size and shape of a clothes box.  I opened the box and was empty. Dad was sitting near by anxiously waiting to see my reaction to the gift he picked out for me.   I showed him the box and said.." Dad the box is empty...there is nothing in it.""  I will never forget the look on his face, the embarrassment, the frustration, the disappointment.  He said"Oh Shoot!!and ran back up stairs with the box.  A few minutes later he came down and again handed me the box.  Inside was a beautiful dark green zippered sweatshirt.  It was perfect.  Those of you that know me know that dark green is my favorite clothes color and as the mother of 2 small children, I  loved sweatshirts. My Dad on his own had picked out the perfect gift.  But he was still feeling bad about the empty box.    And truthfully so was i.  The fact that it had happened  only confirmed what we had already been fearing.  The dad we had known all of our lives was changing.  There was something going on and we cold not ignore it. And yes, the disease progressed, he was diagnosed with both Parkinson's and early onset demntia.     The following years were tough and Dad died at the age of 64  way too young for a man who had so much to give.  I still think of that Christmas and of the box that dad handed me...but I  know something now...that I didn't know then.  The box wasn't empty at all.  It was filled with love, the love of a man who knew just the right gift for his daughter,  the perfect sweatshirt in her favorite color.  I miss my Dad always....but never as mush as on Christmas.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My most favorite time of the year.....(one of them!)

Today was Christmas tree choosing day.  There is a tree farm about 30 minutes away that sits high on the mountain!!  The farm has been there a long time and the owner isn't planting anymore trees...but there are tons left.  Any tree is 35 dollars.  Can't beat it.  Paul was away for the weekend but Jenn came...and David and Amanda.  We piled into the pickup...singing Christmas songs along the way.  The view is incredible  and the trees are my spruces!  The pictures tell the rest of the story...they show the absolute beauty of the day!!!!!  By the way  Jenn chose her tree and Sierra chose ours.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Prelude...a journey to Maine!

On our honeymoon Scott and I went to Kennebunkport Maine.  I love Maine.  I love the beautiful ragged shoreline...I love the people...seemingly always friendly and willing to talk...I love the weather....not too hot summers with cool falls and wonderful winters!!!  While walking around Kennebunkport and wandering through one of their many  shops...I came across a beautiful framed photo.  It was of a lit Christmas tree in the middle of town.  All the  surrounding shops were decorated.  There was a light powdering of snow on the streets.  It was beautiful.  I pointed it out to Scott.  Five years later we returned to  Maine to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.  Right before we left to head home... Scott  handed me a large package.  In it was the large framed photo...the one I had admired 5 years before.  I loved it!!!  I secretly wished that someday I could be there when Kennebunkport celebrated their Christmas Prelude.....somehow I could see the tree lit and standing beautifully in the center of town.  The problem was...Scott works for the highway department...we never go anywhere in the winter  ( well except to China in January 2009...but that was an exception!!)  One day last year , as we were celebrating Chinese New Year at our house...I showed my friend Ellen he picture.  I told her how I wished I could someday go.  She said..."well let's go...let's go in December!!!"  "Lets bring Sierra and Gretchen and let's go to Maine!!  ( Gretchen is her adult daughter )  So last Friday morning we packed into Ellen's convertible and headed for Maine.  I can not even begin to tell you what a wonderful time we had!!!  We walked by the ocean...Gretchen and Sierra went IN the ocean!  We hunted for sea glass and small shells....we shopped and shopped and shopped for Christmas...and we stood in the center of Kennebunkport.... on a beautiful December night...when the tree was  lit !!! Sierra had a blast..She was awesome the entire weekend.  I loved sharing my dream weekend with her.  I loved spending the time with Ellen and Gretchen!  I was sad that Scott couldn't be with us...but I was appreciated the opportunity to have a girls weekend out!!

These are some of my favorite photos