It's funny, everyone always says the first Christmas after losing a loved one is the hardest as all the memories surface. I grant you, my Dad only passed over last week, and his mind had gone over years ago, but I was half waiting for the memories to overwhelm me. The haven't.
When I sat back to figure out why, it occurred to me that I have very few Christmas memories with my father. He was a police officer and worked virtually every Christmas. He would sometimes roll by in his black and white Police Cruiser in his tan Police uniform and stay a few minutes, but inevitably he would roll on out again to do his job.
That made me pretty sad: to think I had no real Christmas memories with my dad. But then I remembered WHY he worked Christmas. He did it so that he could take his vacation in the spring. He took his time off around our Spring break and he would take us on a road trip.
I'm not saying these road trips were all lightness and joy! Two adults, six kids tossed together from two families and vehicles in poor repair can add up to some, let's just say interesting times. (We weren't allowed to say Texas for YEARS!)
But I remember the time we all almost died because the exhaust was filtering into the homemade camper, I remember going through Biloxi and Gulf Port the year before and the year after Camille; I remember going to Cleveland and seeing my cousins, one of whom would become my best friend despite the miles between us. I remember walking on the beach of Kennebunkport, Maine, standing in the splash zone at Niagra Falls, and walking across the Boston Common. I remember getting to see my mom's parents in Virginia, and the halcyon days spent in Florida with Dad's. We went to Tarpon Springs, to St. Petersburg, and fed oranges to the cows.
These are just a few of the memories my dad bought us by working Christmas.
And those are amazing memories to have!