Monday, December 25, 2006

The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future

We came back from the lake house yesterday specifically to spend Christmas alone together. We have never done this before. Our first Christmas as a couple (2001), we spent in OH, but I was in Cleveland with my grandparents and he was in Dayton with his family. We had just moved in together on Dec. 23 (five years of cohabitation. Crazy). By Christmas 2002, we were engaged and headed out to the Hamptons to stay with my Aunt and her family. My grandparents also came up from OH.

The next year (2003)--our first as a married couple--we flew with the dog to OH. Quite the adventure since we thought the dog would be allowed on the plane with us and he wasn't. I cried for four hours while he had to ride with the other animals in baggage. It was so sad. The next year (2004) we decided to drive to OH so the dog could ride with us. Big mistake. A huge blizzard hit on the 23rd while we were still in Cleveland. We decided to drive it anyway and what should have been a 3.5 hour drive turned into a 10 hour odyssey. I still have nightmares about the day. We had a pack of sunflower seeds and half a Nalgene full of water, which we ended up giving to the dog. There were cars overturned all over the sides of the road and at one point, the traffic was so tight, people actually got out of their cars and started hanging out--on the highway.

Last Christmas we were in San Francisco with my family. It was about 60 degrees outside, but pouring rain. We spent a lot of the day walking around deserted San Francisco with my Dad, E and M. We went to Ghiradelli Square and I ran a few miles along the boardwalk. Then we went to E's sister's house for the evening.

This Christmas--our sixth together--is very unique. Sitting in my extremely quiet house with only the dishwasher running in the background, it has occurred to me that this will be the last time we spend the holiday like this for at least 25 years. All the next ones will be loud and crazy, watching our child rip open presents with the same excitement that R and I used to have when we were little. So, this year I am going to hug my husband and dog, see a movie, do some yoga, read my book (Inheritance of Loss) and try to appreciate the fact that, with everything closed, we are alone together for the last time in a long time. Here are some photos from the lake house (and I must say 50 degrees in Maine on Christmas Eve qualifies as offically disturbing. Next year, I'll have to remember to bring my bathing suit):

R in the kitchen, eating breakfast:

R and Rocky in the backyard:

R and Rocky in the backyard redux:

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day, however they are celebrating!

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