Back in the heat of summer, when the holiday season was still way off in the dreamy distance, my husband and I decided that this year we would fly back to Victoria, BC and spend Christmas with my family.
We set the general dates, began to make plans and get excited about the prospect, and started researching flight times and prices.
Then, somewhat out of the blue, we received the news that Peter would be having surgery in late September. The nature of this surgery, his convalescent time, and the need for a second operation in January made any travel this year an impossibility.
So Christmas isn’t at all what we’d expected it would be.
But despite our disappointment and the challenges and heartbreak we’ve faced throughout the fall and into the winter, we’ve been doing our best to make our holiday as warm and comforting and festive as possible.
Though at first I resisted… too much bother to do it by myself, not in the mood, bah humbug… I somewhat grudgingly agreed to put up and decorate our Christmas tree. As soon as I started I was glad that I did! In exchange for a little bit of effort (which really, once I got going, was actually a pleasure), for a few weeks now we have been enjoying the soft glow of the lights, the sparkle of the tin stars and tinsel, and the sweet memories surrounding each of our cherished ornaments.
This afternoon I kept my family’s “Italian Christmas” tradition alive by visiting the shops in Little Italy and purchasing such goodies as crusty bread and buns, prosciutto, Genoa salami, sopressata, provolone, Sicilian olives, panettone, torrone, and pizzelle. My mouth is watering, and I can’t wait to enjoy a feast tomorrow!
This evening we’ll venture out for a drive around the city to look at the Christmas lights, then return home for our own new Christmas Eve tradition started just last year – a viewing of A Christmas Carol (the black and white version with Alastair Sim – Peter’s favourite).
It’s not what we’d hoped, or planned, or expected… but it’s not so bad. We have each other and time to spend together, there is plenty of delicious food and drink in the house, and there are gifts under the beautifully-decorated, memory-filled tree just waiting to be opened and enjoyed. In fact, it’s better than not so bad – it is very, very good. We are truly blessed.
Not for the first time in my life, I am learning that things don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.
Merry Christmas Eve!