Thursday, March 26, 2009

Christmas Past

Bryan is in the Ram's helmet. He was a Chief's fan as an adult--but growing up, he got Rams stuff from my dad. Dad is still a loyal Ram-fan. Grandma Birthday is popping her head up in the back of the picture on the right.

We spent every Christmas Day at my Grandma Birthday's home in San Pedro. I can still place all the furniture and nic-nacs in my mind. I loved that old house. My brother did too.
1980, Bryan is 8.

Look at his Winnie-the-Pooh footed Pj's! I have Wonder Woman on. My parents put nuts and tangerines in the bottom of our stockings, along with other fun stuff, and we have carried on the tradition in the Fitzpatrick home. Gotta love the mustard-colored shag carpet!
I know I said that I was going to start a series on Christmas but it has proved more difficult than I anticipated. Christmas was Bryan's favorite time of the year. He began his love for the season as a child and it only grew as he did. As children, it was rare to find Christmas photos of us in jammies. We liked to sleep in my dad's old t-shirts. We would wake up and enjoy a quick family Christmas and then dash off to do our Christmas Day travelling. Grandma and Grandpa's house (with my Grandpa's "perfect" noble fir trees--always my brother's inspiration) and sometimes to my Grandma Flo's. Always to Uncle John and Aunt Barbara's (where Bryan and I would try and "best" our cousins in the coolest gift competition. It never worked because they had the home field advantage and we were only allowed to bring one present with us to show off! I am still bitter :). And then to my godparent's and my dad's best friend's Hy and Shirl. We put on quite a few miles for one day. I remember being exhausted from all the festivities but Bryan thrived. He loved the hustle and bustle and gift-opening and yummy treats. And he loved being near his family.
It is one of my great regrets that we did not stick with the tradition of travelling on Christmas Day with my parents and my brother. They did it every year except last Christmas. Bryan always wanted us too. And Bob and I did start out our marriage joining them. But when our children came along, it was too hard for me to take them from my hubby's side of the family. And going to both was too taxing...yada, yada. So I don't have the recent memories of extended family time. I know that I can't take it back. I realize that we did make the decision that we thought was best for our family at the time. But hind sight is 20/20--you know? And if I had known then what I know now--that my Christmases with my brother, my children's beloved Uncle, were going to be cut short, I would have savored every single minute with him.
We have been watching home movies the last couple of weeks around here. Christmas 2004 was on two nights ago. Uncle B was "santa", handing out all the gifts under the tree. He must have bought out "Claire's Boutique"--the girls went nuts for his presents. My eyes were fixed on his face on the screen. It glowed. He had the unique ability to capture the essence of child-likeness, even when he was in his thirties. He was radiant. Christmas will never be the same.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kelly, You have made me remember the closeness we all once shared. A great big THANK-YOU for that. I really needed that right now in this chapter in my life. I remember that house and all it's memories like it was yesterday. I love you guys!Peace and Love,Aunty Ingy

WARNING! Tissues Required-Video Slideshow of Bryan's Life-Sorry the music was muted!