December 25th, Again

It’s Christmas 2019. I’m visiting the kids and grandson. Donna is here too, as is Marc, Aaron’s step-dad. I think it has been raining, but I haven’t looked out the window to check. It’s still dark outside.

I’m not the only one awake (Max, at 16 months, is an early riser), but I’m the only one downstairs, looking at the tree with its bountiful collection of colorful boxes beneath it. A red tricycle is there too.

I remember riding my red tricycle, before Patrick and my mom split up. Things were different then, when tricycles were steel, not plastic, and had a step on the back for sharing the ride. We were still a family unit, with Gretchen a baby, the other sister learning to walk, and me on my trike, figuring out a way to pull my wagon while riding. How long until Max figures that out?

This was before the orphanage, before Mari and Lois and Stephanie and Ivonne, before Patrick’s first passport ( computer geek that I am, I almost wrote “password”), before he crossed the Atlantic and I the Pacific.

I may sound incoherent now, but it’s still dark outside and I’ve not yet had coffee.

On special days like these I wear my father’s suspenders, and his ring, the one from Gretchen. My heart wells up in my chest, thinking of Patrick, and John and Willie, but the sounds of life are getting louder and I keep it to myself.

Aaron has reached the kitchen and is grinding coffee. Marc has made it down the stairs, Donna has emerged from the lower bedroom, and now Jessica and Max have completed our little ensemble.

Max has rushed to his first gift, a plastic kitchen, and the fun begins.

Merry Christmas to all.