Hamilton Family Christmas

Friday marked the last day of work for Hugh and I. We both took today and tomorrow off to extend our Christmas break a bit. On Friday Hugh was excited as we drove to work. He couldn't wait to spend more time together. Hugh and I have started to really enjoy our family Saturdays and he spoke about how we were going to have 2 weeks of Saturdays. I should have been elated. I really love our family time.  But, instead I was nervous. In fact, I barely slept at the end of last week. I have been dreading Christmas. The last day of work marked the fact that Christmas was here.

We spent Friday evening and Saturday at Hugh's brother, Billy's house. He and his wife, Abbey, hosted the Hamilton family Christmas this year. We had some good food and laughs on Friday night.  We headed home early to get a good rest for Saturday's festivities.  Hugh and I talked on the short drive about how there were reminders to us that Tripp wasn't there. For Hugh it was reminiscing with his parents and Billy about things they did growing up. It reminded him that Calder will miss out on all that. For me it was seeing Pace toddle around. I wondered what it would have been like with one more pair of feet traipsing around. Hugh has reminisced with his family other times, and I have certainly seen Pace lots without getting those feelings. I just think because Christmas is so much about family that Tripp's absence was more apparent to us.

I woke up Friday night at midnight, 2 am, 4 am, and finally for the day at 6 am. I kept having nightmares. Some about Tripp, some about dying, and others about things that when you become rational in the morning don't seem scary at all.

I was nervous to head over to Billy and Abbeys. In fact, I had a good cry in the morning before we left. Christmas was here and I didn't know how I was feeling. 

One of the first things I noticed when I stepped into Billy and Abbey's house was that Abbey had candles lit. Not all of them, but some. Abbey has a "Tripp" candle and it was lit. I know it wasn't just random luck that it's tiny flame was flickering.
Tripp's candle is the blue bird on the shelf above Hugh.
After we opened gifts and had breakfast, I spent a better part of the day on the couch nursing a headache. Just before supper Hugh massaged my neck and shoulders and it finally started to ease. I knew right from the start it was a tension headache. It wasn't until I got home that I realized I had brought it on myself with all my stress and worry. I don't think I could have prevented the headache, but if I get another one during this break, I will have a better idea of the quickest way to get rid of it.

 As the day unfolded I began to get nervous about what would be said at grace before our meal. As we sat at the table I began to get tears in my eyes. For us, grace is about giving thanks - and I have a lot to be thankful for - it's just been the worst year of my life and it is hard for me to be thankful for that. I was absolutely relieved when Billy announced, "get at'er". No grace. A wave of relief rushed over me.

I took about 20 shots without realizing Maddy had a mouth full of food! I was too busy trying to get Pace and Calder to look!
I spent the better part of Saturday reminding myself to choose happiness. I didn't have to remind myself on Sunday. On Sunday we spent some time in the morning with Hugh's parents and then some time in the afternoon with Billy, Abbey, and the kids, both of which were my favourite parts of the weekend. The Christmas anticipation was over and I could just relax and enjoy everyone's company.


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