Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas

Well, we did it. We somehow survived our first Christmas as a family without Brittney. The day was filled with a lot of laughter and happiness but still a few tears. I ended up not working on Christmas Eve so the kids and I went to see the new Chipmunks movie. I wasn't sure how myself or the kids were going to handle the day without Britt so my plan was to stay as busy as possible. After the movie we grabbed a few groceries then headed over to my Mom & Dad's house for our Christmas Eve dinner with the whole family. It was really nice to be together with everyone. One of the traditions we have is we take a big family picture in front of the tree. It felt odd this year to see Camille with someone next to her and no one next to me...well, Ben was next to me but I have to be honest, as much as I love putting my arms around him, I liked putting them around Brittney more. After Mom's party we headed over to our 'family friends' Jake & Amy's house for a good old certifiable Mexican Fiesta. Lots and lots of people that's for sure...and lots and lots of food. I had already stuffed myself at my moms but I found out very quickly that didn't matter as just about everyone of Ben's aunts and mother told me to get a plate and decided to eat a little. I was really hoping to get to join in the Karaokee fun but the kids were so anxious to get home and get to bed for Santa to come that we left pretty quick.

Brittney started a tradition with our family where on Christmas Eve everyone gets a new pair of pyjamas. The kids know this tradition and love it...they were worried about not getting those pyjamas this year and kept asking me about it all day...I didn't help alleviate those fears because I kept telling them I knew nothing about it. However, when we got home they were quite thrilled to find their new pyjamas waiting for them.

Chrismas morning the kids were up at 7 like they are every other day. They knew they had to wait for me to go downstairs before they could. The anticipation was killing them because I was taking my time telling them they could come down. I've never seen them sprint down the stairs so fast. I had been stressing out pretty bad this year about getting all the right gifts and making this a good Christmas for the kids. The fears were put to rest pretty quick by all the screams. It was a lot of fun to watch the kids open all their seemed odd though to sit on the couch alone without Britt as I watched the kids open their presents. A few days prior to Christmas Harmony had told me that she thought Britt would be with us on Christmas morning. I'd like to think she was there. My girls have officially gone off the deep end with gifts. They did't want much this year except ipods, Nintendo DS's and American Girl dolls...all of which are not cheap.

As usual the only thing Boston really wanted was baseball related. He got his own Wii bat, a nice Red Sox logo FatHead for his wall (maybe Dad was the one that wanted this) and a Handy Manny repair shop. I usually try to get some educational things for the kids for Christmas and this year Boston's educational gift was bases. He seems to understand everything about baseball except how to run the bases...he always runs to third when he gets a hit. So I'm hoping the bases will help fix that this spring.

That afternoon the kids and I headed over to the cemetery to wish Britt a Merry Christmas. It was so cold out that the kids didn't last long and we left about as quick as we got there which was probably a good thing for me. I still don't do the cemetery very well. We then headed over to Bart & Renae's for their family christmas celebration. This was the part of the day I was worried about the most. I had no idea how I would handle being there without Britt this year. People seemed to keep talking to me most of the night so there wasn't a whole lot of time to sit and just dwell on Britt not being there which was nice. I did have to excuse myself to the bathroom a couple times when I felt the emotion welling up but I was so happy to be there with everyone that night.
For the last couple of years Harmony will sing a song for the rest of the family. As some of the grandkids have gotten older they have enjoyed performing for the family on Christmas Day. Harmony, Mia & Meridian sang "Where are you Christmas" which is a song that Harmony absolutely loves.

The grandkids also re-enacted the nativity scene...all but Boston anyway. Seems like we couldn't get him to do it last year either.

For the last few months I've been working on a project for all the boys in the family. Every year in March we go to Arizona for several days and watch Baseball Spring Training. Christmas Day is the day we get together and plan the week and the games we want to attend. I know for several of us this part of the day is more exciting for presents. This year however I have been working on getting personalized jerseys for everyone of their favorite team. The jerseys weren't suppose to be given out until the day we were to leave for Spring Training but I got them a week ago and I just couldn't resist giving them out now. The kids and I had been given ours on Christmas Eve by my mom. It was so awesome to see the kids with their jerseys on with BrittStrong on the back. I was so excited to give these out to the family at the party. I just wanted to finally see the group of us in our jerseys. I think everyone really appreciated the gesture and they all seemed to love the jerseys.

Earlier in the day I had shown Wes & Collin my jersey. Wes asked me why #9 on the back? At the party I explained the significance of #9 to me. #9 was the first number the Red Sox ever was the number of Ted Williams who happens to be my favorite player and Britt knew I loved everything having to do with Ted Willimas. It's why I wear #9 when I play ball. But more significantly Britt passed away on 9/9/09. No other number seemed more perfect than #9. Once the jerseys were on everyone it was incredibly emotional for me to see. From our family I can't see any better tribute to Britt than to have her name on the back of these jerseys. I for one can't wait to get to Arizona in 10.5 weeks to wear this jersey...I'm sure I'll wear it a time or two...or maybe 10 before then though.

And keeping with our last tradition, we always take one family picture in front of the tree. This year I just didn't really want to do it at home so we did it while at Bart & Renae's. I can't complain too much about how our Christmas turned out. Obviously I would have loved to have Britt with us but I'm glad I have these three wonderful kids here with me and a wonderful family to help me get through days like this. I look forward to many many more wonderful Christmas's with my family.

Merry Christmas to everyone! Thanks to so many people who left things on our doorstep through out the month of December. My kids really enjoyed seeing what was going to be there each day. We are truly blessed to be loved by so many people around and friends alike. I know a lot of people missed Britt for Christmas this year...none moreso than me. But this was the first Christmas in a while that we didn't have to watch Britt be hooked up to chemo. I was grateful that she didn't have to suffer through all of those effects again this year. She's completely healthy now...what better thing could any of us ask for this Christmas....


Natalie said...

I'm glad you were surrounded by loved ones at Christmas and I'm sure Brittney was with you too. I still think about her a lot. You're great!

Amanda said...

I'm glad your Christmas turned out well. I love the pic with the jerseys. . . what a great idea!

Mindy said...

Brittney would be proud of the Christmas you made for the kids! I'm sure she was there with all of you. The jerseys are awesome!

Jamie said...

I just wanted to tell you thank you so much for continuing your amazing story on this blog. You are such an example to all of us, and you give me strength, perspective, and gratitude every time I read your blog. What an amazing father you are. I will forever be grateful for the example Brittney was. You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you again. Happy Holidays to you and your children.

Jamie Joyal

Amy said...

Hey you, so glad that you guys did stop by, in fact I was really sad when I saw that you had left, kind of hoped we could have seen you bust some moves singing some karokee. Check my blog out, there's the cutest pic of Boston and Mya on there. I'm so glad that you had lots of family and friends to keep you busy this season and what a cool idea with the jersey's, you really are so thoughtful Steven. Love all the pics. Let's plan a time to hang out and let the kids play okay.

Jill said...

So glad I got to see you and the kids at the movie on Christmas Eve! I am so touched by your blog and the strength you show. It's inspiring.
The jerseys are so amazing! I love the back. Love those Mangums. Too bad there aren't any Mariners fans in the group...

Elizabeth said...

I have to say that I am so impressed with how you have handled this all. The way that you live with such a loss and show your children how to live love and not forget it incredible. I tear up every time I read your blog i will be honest but just wanted to say your doing amazing.. Those three beautiful children are so lucky to have you as their Daddy..

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