Okay. So I might spend the evening crying after all.
I think this is how it works: The first Christmas my parents weren’t together was 2002. My mom, my sister and I went with my husband to Morocco in December. Dealing with the language barrier was sufficient distraction to make it not seem weird that we weren’t sitting around a fire with the Christmas tree up. Christmas 2003, the sister, the father, the husband and I all went to Rome. Wandering the ruins of Rome was sufficient distraction from the fact that we weren’t doing what we used to do for Christmas, which was be together. Christmas of 2004, we leached off of my sister in Canada and had them to provide family and the tree and the kids for excitement. I figured that, by Christmas of 2005, I’d be okay with the fact that it isn’t like it was when I was a kid, or even like it was when I was 22.
Not so much with the being okay bit. Not even a little bit.
My sister and I used to go down to the National Cathedral. She’s in Germany. Dad used to build a fire. He’s in New Hampshire. I’d call to find out if he is having a hard time with this too, but if he’s not, I don’t want to ruin it for him. Mom used to make wassail. She’s in Canada with my sister and her kids. That sister makes thumb-print cookies. She’s in Canada (obviously).
Parts of the extended family have managed to stay in the same little town. My grandmother was never more than a few miles from her sisters. For her whole life. But clearly the time has come to either face up to the fact that there is no Santa or to ensure that I never spend another Christmas with out some semblance of family – either my parents, my sisters or munchkins of my own.
But I wonder. Even with munchkins of my own, would it be okay if I didn’t have one of my sisters around? I’m not sure that’s ever going to be okay.