Another Christmas has come and gone.
It was good. Actually it was great. It was one of those years when I got the one thing I wanted most and didn't think I would. Sean bought me my DSLR. Now I have to learn to use it. I'm snapping on average 200 photos a day and of those maybe 20 are keepers. Oh well, I'm having fun with it. I get a free one hour lesson at Blacks so in the new year I'll do that.
The kids had a blast. We tried to keep it a little more low key. The girls are getting older, out of the toy stage and quite frankly, I'm astounded by the sheer amount of *stuff* we gave away last year and don't want to bring more *stuff* in. Connor wasn't quite on board. He didn't like his morning ritual being messed with and it took him until close to lunch time before he was willing to open some gifts.
Next year he'll get it.
A few surprises this Christmas as well. From the two people I thought would stress my Christmas out more than anything. One was my brother and the other was my brother in law.
My brother and I are not exactly on the best of terms. He's chosen a path for his life and his come on hard times and while I feel bad for him, I also can't help someone who won't help himself.
But my brother was sober, as was his wife and before he left he made a point of apologizing to me for screwing a lot of things up this past year.
Whether or not this is a turning point for him, I don't know, but I hope so. He was always my favorite brother and I would love to be able to have him back in my life.
The other was my brother in law. Also an alcoholic and again, I expected his visit to be a drink fest.
And again, I was pleasantly surprised.
He spent more time with the kids than with the adults, playing with them, hugging them, getting to know them. It was nice to see and so nice for the kids because you can never have too many people to love you or too much family.
He also did something that will forever change my once clouded opinion of him. He offered me and my mom both his condolences.
He doesn't live close by so this was the first time we'd seen him since my dad passed away. He could have very easily ignored the obvious, swept it under the rug and not said anything, it was after all, 6 months ago. But he didn't. The first words from his mouth to me were how sorry he was for my loss, how at these times it is the strength and love of our families that get us through. And he said the same to my mom. It made her cry and he felt awful for it but he needn't. I'm sure my mom also appreciated the fact that he remembered and offered his love. I sure did.
The only thing that could have made this Christmas more perfect would have been having my dad here.
And so, we get ready for another year. I can't wait to see what it holds!