#1 Prompt: Who did you miss?
#2 Prompt: Travel - Did you visit anywhere new this year? Any plans to travel next year?
#1 -- Who did I miss? My parents, often, and never more than at Christmas time when my memories of Christmases past are so wrapped up in their presence. When I first married, we invited our parents and my brother (my ex was an only child) to come to us for Christmas, and they did for years, modifying that first when my in-laws divorced (after nearly 50 years) and he remarried, and then when my mother-in-law could no longer travel, and finally when my dad died and we went to Missouri every year to be with my mother until 2005 when she died.
That's a lot of years and memories: of putting together the Christmas jigsaw puzzle, usually primarily by my dad, with help here and there from all of us; of playing games -- Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly or Michigan Rummy or Screw your Neighbor -- eating nuts and candy and laughing. Going to church on Christmas Eve, and especially the year that my dad, brother, and husband all slipped in to the late service at the last moment on a very cold Indiana night -- I was already there in the choir loft and we'd all gone to an earlier, child-friendly service. The three of them lifted slightly whiskey-scented voices to the holy candle-lit atmosphere, and none of us could stop smiling.
I miss my friend Julia, again never more than at Christmas. For nine years we sang together at Christmas and other times, we laughed and cried and shopped and worked and shared stories and children. We are growing old together, although we see each other only every few years for maybe a week. I've no doubt that we'll sing again in that great celestial chorus, her short, round, red-haired frame next to my much taller and longer one, smiling all the way, even through our tears.
I miss my daughter, the person she was before illness and other things so clouded and distorted her mind. I still see flashes of that person, but it makes me sad to see such potential and intelligence and charm largely gone, and I am still trying to wrap my arms around who she is now, and who I am when I'm with her.
Always at special times of the year I miss my brother and sister-in-law, who I would like to know better as we grow older and hopefully wiser, and who become increasingly important as I age. And we miss our daughter and grandson, miss being able to know who they are becoming, and especially Gabe as he changes so much as he grows from a toddler into a pre-schooler.
I'm grateful that there are so many people that I miss, though, because it indicates that I am capable of great love, and also that I am the recipient of great love in return. It just doesn't get better than that.
#2 -- Travel is something that is on our minds for this coming year as Tony retires and our time is not bound by paid time off accrual. While I don't know that we'll do any long-distance trips in 2012, we are planning time in the LA area for a cousin's wedding, and also anticipate a trip to Seattle to see our daughter and her family.
Both trips also put us by our beloved ocean, where we've spent our vacations nearly every year since we've been together. Perhaps we'll make a trip further into the interior US to see my brother and other friends, but we'll see how time and money play out. For now, Tony is happy to think about staying home and working on projects that have piled up and that he is eager to begin. And I'm happy to have him here.