Christmas Memories

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I’m listening to White Christmas even though it’s never a white Christmas here in Central Florida. The truth is I haven’t had a white Christmas in so long I cannot truly recall what it was like! I don’t miss being cold, though in the brief winter here it can go down to freezing.

I miss the holidays of my youth but doesn’t everyone? We had such wonderful Christmases then with all the family together, visiting house to house, my Auntie Marcia making the most wonderful food, my Aunt Diane having the most beautiful decorated house, my Nanesto making the most lovely holidays especially considering that we always brought my father with us and he could destroy any holiday with a withering look. But she stood up to him – she was awesome!

Daddy wasn’t always a misery though, he’d lighten up once we got to Auntie Marcia’s and Uncle Richard’s, things were fun and festive with the Italians (which my father is) rather than the more buttoned up Yankee traditions of my mother’s people (she is half French and that’s on her father’s side, but the French has always been downplayed though my mother is tres tres French in her demeanor!).

Christmas with my cousins was always a great time. We got along famously, my cousins Tammy & Rick were very close to my brother Raymond and me throughout our entire childhoods and teen years. We lost touch once we were all adults and I am sad about that. I miss all my family tremendously, especially my Nanesto who has been gone a while now.

Nanesto (so called because Ernest Hemingway was her favorite author and his nickname was Ernesto, so I called her that combining “Nana” with his nickname) died in December and then five years ago this Christmas I lost my husband Sandy. The holidays are not quite what they were then.

It’s not just the physical loss of loved ones (though that plays into it) but I don’t see my father anymore (even though he has a winter home here in Florida) and have not in going on four years. My brother Raymond and his wife are estranged from Mom and me. Aunt Diane lives far away in Rhode Island and so does my father’s side of the family and we have not gotten together in many years.┬áMy mother remains close with my Aunts, speaking to them every few days and I am glad they maintain their connection.

I have found in the last five years since Sandy passed away that my closest friends are all over the world, many of them clients, sister and brother witches in my community of pagans, Buddhist brothers and sisters that I have known for over a dozen years and even new friends like my dear girlfriend Vanessa. I am so grateful to have a new family and new memories that we are building and sharing.

Still as I get older those memories of long ago seem more clear, and I find myself drifting longingly to the simpler joys of driving with my family to Rhode Island to be welcomed by both sides of my extended family in their unique and wonderful ways.

Those were my white Christmases.