Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Clark Christmas Eve 2012

Christmas 2012 was another first - the first Christmas without Mom.  And it felt very strange.  My mom loved this holiday - was over the top with decorations, traditional foods, parties, events, family, gifts and planning.  "Putting up the trims" at my childhood home lasted for days.  Some of my favorites were the Santa collection and the old felt and wire Mr. and Mrs. Santa and Rudolph figures - that seemed almost as tall as me when I was a child!  I loved the ornaments made of bread dough that she would place around the kitchen.  And I absolutely adored the lovely figure of Mary and Jesus that my mom would always place in the living room.  Fancy frosted sugar cookies, mushroom meringues, fudge, fondant, butter mints and other traditional treats were made for weeks before Christmas.  Lists were made, parties planned, programs and games arranged.  Neighbor gifts would slowly fill up the table in my mom's room until the evening we would haul them to the car for the deliveries.  These are only just a few of the many memories.  It was a magical time for me - and my mom (and dad) made it so.

So Christmas without my mom felt strange.  Not right.  But even though life has dealt us a heartbreaking blow - we must go on.  We have siblings, kids, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors and, most importantly, a father to help us.  And so this Christmas was still magical - in its own way. 

My dad wanted to host Christmas Eve - as usual (which we technically hold on the 23rd).  He put up many of the traditional decorations and made the house feel like home.  And we even had a new member of the family to make this Christmas special.      

Introducing Oakley:
Oakley is a special needs dog that has been with my dad for a couple of  weeks.  She has a deformed paw that makes her a little less mobile and she is several years old - but she is about the sweetest dog ever!  Dad named her after his home town in Idaho.
And she is adored by all (and is amazingly tolerant of the affection she receives from the grandkids).
She is especially loved by Allie.

Poor Bri has a broken heel bone.
We decided to switch things up a bit and have chicken enchiladas for our Christmas dinner.

At countless family, neighborhood, and company gatherings my father has stood in this exact spot to welcome guests and to give directions for the evening...

After dinner Tess read one of my mom's favorite Christmas stories - The Little Match Girl.  We all cried.
Then we had our traditional nativity.

As Oakley looked on.
We opened cousin and sibling gifts.
Kip gave Wes a late birthday present - a camo Snuggie!

I made a book of the transcript, program and photos from my mom's funeral for my dad and siblings .  That also brought many tears.
The kids decided to take Oakley for a late night walk.
Dad in the new down coat we gave him and Wes in his Snuggie.
We all agree with my dad when he says, "Janet would have loved this dog!"
Roasting marshmallows is always a favorite at Papa's house.

Worn to a my mom would say. 

Christmases from the past - click HERE


Rachel said...

It looks like a lovely, cozy evening. I'm so sorry you have to work through these holidays without your Mom.

Oakley looks like a happy addition!

Thanks for sharing.

Diana Beck McCarty said...

Oh the memories! I feel extremely fortunate that most of my childhood memories of Christmas were framed around our family Christmas eve parties. I do miss them terribly.
I think of you and your family every single day and pray for your comfort, especially during the holiday season, which can be SO raw in the wake of a lost loved one. To be sure Janet is entirely infused in so many parts of our lives she will be ever present in our minds and hearts. Love you guys!
and the camo snuggie kills me :-)

Julie said...

What a perfect evening! The photos are amazingly awesome!! Treasured memories to be sure.